Popular south cinema actor Bhavana was allegedly abducted in Kerala’s Kochi town and molested by a five-member gang who took pictures and videos before letting her off, police said on Saturday.
The incident took place when the actress was reportedly returning home from a film shoot. The gang forcibly boarded her car when it stopped near a traffic signal and harassed Bhavana for almost two hours inside the vehicle, police said.
The 30-year-old actress lodged a police complaint later in the night.
Bhavana, whose real name is Karthika Menon, has acted in more than 75 films in several languages including Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu. She made her acting debut when she was 16 years old.
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Kochi, Kerala: Malayalam actor Bhavana allegedly molested after being abducted last night in Ernakulam. One held, search on for others
9:24 AM – 18 Feb 2017
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Police arrested Martin, who was allegedly driving the actor’s car. After examining his call log, they found he was in constant touch with Sunil Kumar aka Pulsar Suni, now identified as the main accused.
“We have identified five persons in connection with the case. The incident is suspected to be a conspiracy to blackmail the actress,” said a senior police officer of Kochi. The actor later underwent a medical test.
Sunil Kumar, who has several criminal charges against him, was formerly employed by Bhavana as her driver. However, she fired him; police suspect Suni holds a grouse against her for this.
After the attack, the accused fled in another car and Bhavana sought refuge in a director friend’s house.
In her complaint she said she was physically assaulted, and gang members forcibly took photos and recorded a video, threatening to post them on social media if she went to the police.
A popular dubbing artiste, Bhagyalakshmi said she tried contacting Bhavana after the incident but found her mobile switched off.
“This is the first time that a Mollywood artist is facing such a situation. It’s quite normal for stars like her to travel at ungodly hours after work,” she told Malayayam Manorama, referring to a term used to describe the Malayalam film industry.
“It’s not the matter of a celebrity, it’s the matter of being a woman. This incident shows that our girls are no longer safe. It’s a case of shame and shock,” she added.