Kozhikode (Kerala) | Actor-politician Suresh Gopi was questioned by police here on Wednesday in connection with a complaint filed by a woman journalist accusing him of misbehavior during an interaction with reporters last month.
Gopi arrived at the Nadakkavu police station around 11.45 am, and after nearly three hours, he left at around 2.25 pm.
As he left the station in his vehicle, he addressed the large crowd of BJP supporters and his fans gathered there from the sun-roof of his car and asked them to disperse from there so as not to create any problems for the police.
Gopi also expressed his gratitude to the public for their love and to the senior BJP leaders of the state for their support.
An officer of Nadakkavu police station said that the actor's arrest was not recorded, but he was issued a notice under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code. The officer said that in offences where the punishment is less than seven years, the accused can be allowed to go without being arrested by issuing the notice under section 41A of the CrPC.
The officer also said that the recording of Gopi's statement has concluded and as of now he has not been asked to appear again.
The actor was summoned by police to appear before the investigating officer at Nadakkavu police station following the complaint by the woman journalist and the lodging of a case based on that.
She lodged the complaint along with a video said to be of the incident with the city police commissioner, who, in turn, handed it over to the local police station for further action.
The former BJP Rajya Sabha member landed in trouble after a video surfaced online in which he is seen placing his hand on the shoulder of the journalist, who pushed it away twice, during an interaction with various reporters.
While Gopi was being questioned today and his statement was being recorded, a large crowd of BJP workers, supporters and fans of the actor were gathered outside the station.
Everyone, including the large number of women of all ages, who had gathered there since around 9 am were of the view that the actor had committed no wrong.
"We will not let anyone harm him. He has helped countless people. He is a nice man. The allegations against him are false," were the responses from the people there.
They all said they will not leave till he comes out from the police station.
Earlier in the day, senior BJP leaders in Kerala including the party's state chief K Surendran termed the police action as "politically motivated" and marched to the station in protest against the same.
The BJP leaders were accompanied by hundreds of party supporters, including a large number of women, who were carrying placards in support of the actor.
Surendran, speaking to reporters, said that Gopi was "targeted" when he started speaking out against the alleged "injustices and illegalities" of the ruling CPI(M) in the state.
The BJP state chief alleged that the "political hunt" of the actor began after he intervened in the multi-crore Karuvannur cooperative bank scam.
"This is an agenda of the government and Pinarayi Vijayan. If the action is not withdrawn, protests would be held across the state," he contended.
Police were deployed in large numbers to prevent any untoward incident in view of the huge crowd of BJP supporters and fans of the actor who turned up outside the Nadakkavu police station.
There were reported incidents of minor conflicts between the people gathered outside the station and the police as they tried to keep the crowd from entering the station premises.
Nadakkavu Police registered the case under section 354 (outraging modesty of a woman) of the IPC late last month based on the complaint of the journalist who works with a local television channel.
Facing intense criticism from various quarters, the actor tendered an apology, saying he only treated the journalist with affection.
Despite his apology, criticism from various quarters pointed out that his behaviour had been inappropriate.