Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed actor-producer Vijay Babu, who is accused of sexually abusing a young Malayali actress, to get back to India at the earliest.
Babu, the founder of film production company Friday Film House, is suspected to be holed up in Georgia, according to Kochi police.
The court's response came whilst considering Babu's anticipatory bail shortly after the latter expressed his willingness to appear before the investigation team.
The court said it could hear the case as early as Thursday if Babu's lawyers could produce his flight ticket's copy.
According to recent media reports, he is said to have arrived in Dubai and is likely to make his way to India soon.
Meanwhile, the police had approached the court urging it to deny him anticipatory bail as he was not cooperating with the case.
Babu had earlier informed the court that he was unable to travel on account of his passport being cancelled by the police.
He also added that he had not been given an opportunity to explain his side of things amid the rampant vilification of him in the media.
Meanwhile, the Kochi Police Commissioner CH Nagaraju has warned Babu that a red notice will be issued against him if he does not surrender by Tuesday.
It was on April 22 that a young Malayali actress lodged a complaint against Babu for sexually abusing her in the guise of friendship and guidance.
In a Facebook live stream four days later, Babu denied the accusations, claiming to be "the one who is suffering" and stating he would countersue her for defamation.
Notably, he named his accuser in the video despite knowing that it is illegal under Indian law, leading to him additionally being charged for violating the victim's anonymity.
Kochi film lobby behind Babu's case?
The police have also started looking into the angle that Babu was likely trapped by a Kochi lobby existing in the Malayalam film industry.
The development came following a complaint raised by Babu's kin.
As per the complaint, ever since Babu became a member of the board of directors of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists, popularly known as AMMA, an influential actor has held a personal grudge against him.
However, neither Babu nor his relatives have been able to substantiate their claims of a lobby working in the industry with evidence yet.
While the internal complaint commission of AMMA recommended that Babu be expelled shortly after news of the case came out, the organisation ultimately did not do so, instead accepting a letter from him distancing himself from the executive board.
In response to this inaction, four members (Maala Parvathy, Kukku Parameswaran, Shweta Menon and Hareesh Peradi) criticized AMMA's stance and left the association.