Popular Malayalam actress ‘kidnapped’, released; Driver arrested

Thiruvananthapuram/Kochi, Feb 18: Popular Malayalam film actress Bhavana was abducted for a while on way from Thrissur to Kochi on Friday night by some people who reportedly took pictures of her to blackmail her. Her driver is suspected of involvement and has been taken into custody, police said.

Kerala Police chief Loknath Behra on Saturday said they have identified those behind the ‘kidnap’ of Bhavana near Kochi.

Speaking to the media in the state capital, Behra said that a joint investigation team has been formed to track down those behind the crime.

“We know who are behind this, and we will very quickly arrest all of them and get to the bottom of the truth,” said Behra.

The Nedumbassery police have registered a case under sections of kidnapping and molestation.

According to police, her driver is believed to be part of a gang of four behind the incident.

The hugely popular actress on Friday night after a shoot was on way from Thrissur to Kochi to take part in the dubbing of her new film directed by director-cum-actor Lal.

While on way, a car hit her vehicle from behind, following which an argument erupted over the accident. The passengers of the other car forcefully entered her car and drove off with the actress.

The gang behind the incident is from the film industry and involved in doing various production jobs, police said. Bhavana was held hostage for two hours. According to reports, the gang took pictures of the actress that they planned to use to blackmail her for money.

The police, after tracing the call list, zeroed down on the actress’ former driver who was thrown out after she came to know of his criminal background. He is believed to be the main culprit.

After being held hostage by the criminal gang, the actress managed to reach the home of Lal, who informed the police.

Speaking to reporters, Lal said he has been advised by the police probe team not to speak about the incident as it would hamper the investigation.

The actress for a while was not having the best of relations with a group in the Malayalam film industry, and the group had scuttled a few good roles that she was offered, according to reports.

The police are looking into all aspects of the incident and will probe if this was a planned move against the actress.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, who is currently in Delhi, told reporters there that the police is doing its job and will certainly arrest those responsible.

Lok Sabha member Innocent, President of Association of Malayalam Movie Artists, told reporters that he had tried to get in touch with Vijayan over the incident.

He said police chief Behra had assured him that all behind the incident would be arrested.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala, currently on a day-long protest at his home constituency near Alappuzha over the “sudden deterioration” of the law and order situation in the state, expressed shock over the incident.

“If this is the plight of a celebrity, what can one say about ordinary people. This is really shocking,” said Chennithala, a former state Home Minister.

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