A leading Malayalam actress was molested and photographed in a moving car for two hours near Kochi late Friday night. Police have registered an FIR against seven persons, including her car driver who was arrested Saturday. P Vijayan, Inspector General of Police (Kochi range), said though the actress hasn’t alleged rape, the accused will face charges under Sections 366 (kidnapping), 376 (rape) of IPC and Section 66 of the IT Act. As outrage mounted, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said police will take “stern action” against the culprits. “All of them have been identified. Such an attack should not have happened against a woman and it is a matter of grave concern,’’ he said.
WATCH VIDEO|Malayalam Actress Molestation Case: Mollywood Industry Protests Against The Incident In Kochi
Police said the actress left by road from Thrissur to Kochi to dub for an upcoming film. Her car and the driver had been arranged by the production house. After the car left Thrissur around 7 pm, the driver, identified as Martin, spoke to someone over the phone. The actress told police that Martin even asked her if she was in a hurry to reach Kochi.
About 25 km short of Kochi, a van hit the rear end of the car. As Martin got out of the car, ostensibly to assess the damage to the car, four men in the van allegedly forced their way into the car and drove away with the actress. For the next two hours, the car kept moving while the men, police said, molested her and took photographs on their mobile phones. All this while, Martin, who was now driving the van, followed the car.
Nearly two hours later, the accused stopped the car at Palarivattom in Kochi and allegedly drove away in the van. Martin then took her to the house of the film director who lives at Kakkanad in Kochi. Police went to the director’s house late Friday and recorded the actress’s statement.
IGP Vijayan said: “The assailants forcibly took her photographs. Two of the four men in the car are drivers who work in the film industry and she was familiar with them. One of them, Sunil, has a criminal record and was her driver until recently. Their motive seems to have been to fleece money from the actress by blackmailing her with the photographs.’’ He said the van had been seized.