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Karnataka Sex Scandal: JD(S) Suspends Revanna

Karnataka Sex Scandal: JD(S) Suspends Revanna

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, Apr 30: The Janata Dal (Secular) on Tuesday suspended from the party its MP from Hassan in Karnataka Prajwal Revanna amid a row over explicit videos – allegedly showing him sexually assaulting multiple women. The decision was announced after a meeting of the party’s core committee in Hubballi on Tuesday.

Pen drives that show Prajwal’s alleged acts of sexual exploitation have been in circulation in Hassan on social media a day after his constituency went to polls during the second phase of polling on April 26 embarrassing the party.

Prajwal Revanna, a sitting MP from Hassan constituency, is the grandson of JD(S) patriarch and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda, and the nephew of former Karnataka chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy. The 33-year-old is the NDA candidate in Hassan with the JD(S) contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha elections in alliance with the BJP.

The scandal involves hundreds of explicit videos that were allegedly shot by Mr Revanna. This was followed up by a woman filing a police case against Prajwal Revanna, accusing him of sexual assault. She alleged she had been sexually abused multiple times between 2019 and 2022.

The complainant also claimed that Prajwal Revanna misbehaved with her daughter over a video call and had “vulgar conversations” with her. The woman alleged that Prajwal’s father HD Revanna also sexually assaulted her when his wife was not at home.

Prajwal has denied the allegations and filed a complaint claiming that the videos being circulated are doctored. The 33-year-old left for Germany Saturday morning, shortly after the videos emerged online. Prajwal’s father HD Revanna, who is also an accused in the case, is MLA from Holenarasipur constituency. HD Revanna too accused political rivals of creating a conspiracy out of “old videos”.

The Karnataka government has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to look into the obscene videos case. The decision to set up the SIT came after the state women’s commission recommended the Siddaramaiah government to take action.

On reports of Prajwal leaving the country pending a probe, Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara said Prajwal would be asked to return to India by the SIT. The Karnataka State Commission for Women chairperson Nagalakshmi Choudhary said the pen drive she received had hundreds of explicit videos, some purportedly showing the sitting MP from Hassan.

BJP Leader Devaraje Gowda, who was the party’s Holenarsipura candidate during the 2023 Assembly elections, has also claimed that had written to then state president BY Vijayendra in December last year, flagging “grave allegations” against the HD Deve Gowda family, including Prajwal Revanna.

He claimed that he had received a pen drive containing 2,976 explicit videos of women – which were then being used to blackmail them into continuing to engage in sexual activities.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has accused the Congress government in Karnataka of not taking any action over the obscene clips. Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Shah said the BJP stand is clear on the issue – that it is with the “matrushakti” (mothers or women).

“The BJP’s stand is clear that we stand with the ‘matrushakti‘ of the country. I want to ask Congress, whose government is there? The government is of Congress Party. Why they have not taken any action till now? We do not have to take action on this as this is a law and order issue of the state, state government has to take action on it,” he said.

The Union Minister said the BJP favours a probe in the case. “It is very serious, we cannot tolerate it. We want to ask Congress that despite being in power, why hasn’t the government acted yet? Priyanka (Gandhi Vadra) ji should ask their Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister,” said Mr Shah. Ms Gandhi had earlier criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the sex scandal involving the JD(S) leader.

The police have lodged a case of sexual harassment and stalking against him while the Karnataka government has formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the matter.

The controversy further escalated with his former driver and a BJP leader accusing each other of leaking the videos in which he can allegedly be seen sexually assaulting multiple women. In a video posted on social media, Karthik, who claimed he worked as Mr Revanna’s driver for 15 years, said he had given the videos only to BJP leader G Devaraje Gowda. He said he did this since had Mr Gowda contested and lost against Mr Revanna’s father, HD Revanna, from the Holenarasipura constituency in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls.

“I heard Mr Gowda mention that I gave the pen drive containing the videos to Congress leaders. These are lies. I had approached him since he was a BJP candidate in the last Assembly elections. I thought I would get justice from him. I didn’t give it to anyone else because the Congress was in an alliance with the JDS earlier. I went to this BJP leader, but he cheated me,” Karthik said.

The former driver said he had seen the good and bad times of the Deve Gowda family when he worked there as a driver. “I held a press conference earlier and another person who worked there also spoke out. I hope more people will come forward,” he said.

On Saturday, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah ordered the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) to look into the allegations and Karthik said he will approach the team with documents and evidence.

“The reason (for distancing from Mr Revanna) was that my land was taken away and my wife was beaten up. I was mentally tortured. Because my land was taken away, I came out of the job and started my fight (to get back land),” Karthik said in the message adding that Mr Gowda had written to the BJP brass not to give a ticket to Mr Revanna.

Mr Gowda told reporters that Karthik had been seen several times with Mr Revanna’s Congress rival from Hassan constituency, Shreyas Patel. “If there was someone benefiting from this, it was the Congress. Only for his political gain, the Congress candidate (Shreyas Patel) has mortgaged the modesty of women seen in the videos,” Mr Gowda said.

The BJP leader said neither the JDS nor his party would release the videos as doing so would hurt the NDA, and that he would give important documents to the SIT when they serve him a notice. “Congress leaders will fall in the ditch they have dug for others,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mr H.D. Kumaraswamy has been trying to distance himself and his father from the family of his elder brother H.D. Revanna, in an attempt to minimise the damage caused to the party.



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