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Rape Accused JDS MP to Appear before SIT on May 31

Rape Accused JDS MP to Appear before SIT on May 31

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 27: In his first public comment on the charges of sexual assault on numerous women, the absconding Janata Dal (Secular) member of the Lok Sabha from Hassan in Karnataka Prajwal Revanna has apologised to his family and promised to return to India and appear before the state government-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) on May 31.

In a video statement released on Monday afternoon, Prajwal said, “I apologise to my parents… I was in depression. I will come (back to India) and appear before the SIT (a special investigative team set up by the state government) at 10 AM on May 31 (Friday),” Revanna said.

The 33-year-old Hassan MP, who is the grandson of JDS patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, left the country on April 26, a day after polling in his Hassan constituency, after several videos of him sexually abusing multiple women emerged with many women claiming that he forced them into sexual acts that were then filmed.
On May 1, four days after he fled the country, Revanna had posted a message on X. He said, “I am not in Bengaluru… I have communicated (to the police) through my lawyer. The truth will prevail soon.”

Speaking in the video, Prajwal Revanna said, “I am putting out this video to clarify about my whereabouts. After Lok Sabha polls finished, cases were filed against me for various reasons and SIT was constituted. My foreign trip has nothing to do with these cases and it was a pre-planned trip. I only learned that SIT gave me notice and responded to it through my advocate.”

He further said he went into depression after Congress leaders launched an attack against him. “After Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, spread rumours against me, I went into depression, and I isolated myself. A political conspiracy is going on to finish my career, and I will face it,” he added.

Prajwal Revanna said he would appear in front of SIT on May 31. “At 10 am on May 31, I will attend the SIT probe in Bengaluru and give my full co-operation to the investigation. I have full trust in the judicial system. I will prove myself as innocent in front of the judicial system.”

He called the allegations “a political conspiracy” and said he was in “depression and isolation”. He also apologised to the JDS leader and party workers for not providing his whereabouts.

“I want to apologise to my family members, my Kumaranna [HD Kumaraswamy], and the party workers for not providing proper information about my whereabouts abroad. On April 26th, when the elections were over, there was no case against me. The SIT wasn’t formed. Two or three days after I left, I saw these allegations against me on YouTube. I also wrote to the SIT via my lawyer asking for seven days’ time,” he said.

Prajwal further alleged that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other senior leaders spoke about it openly in public, saying, “This is a political conspiracy.” The JDS and BJP are alliance partners in Karnataka. “I apologise as I went into depression and into isolation,” he added.

The nephew of senior leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, Prajwal’s message comes days after a warning from Mr Deve Gowda, who told his grandson to return home and surrender “or face your family’s anger.”

Deve Gowda said he had warned Revanna to “not test my patience” and that it took him time to recover from the “shock and pain.” The former Prime Minister – targeted by the ruling Congress, former allies turned political rivals, over claims it was he sent Revanna abroad – stressed he had called for “the harshest punishment under the law” for his grandson “if (he is) found guilty…”

Revanna’s uncle, HD Kumaraswamy, has also made an appeal. The former Chief Minister last week appealed to his nephew to return and face the authorities. “I have openly appealed to him… told him, ‘if you have respect for the party and Deve Gowda, come back…’ Cooperate with the probe. If you have not done anything prove it. If you have, then face the punishment,” Revanna was told.

Revanna’s return home may be complicated by the fact the Ministry of External Affairs is set to cancel his diplomatic passport. A request to this effect has been made by the state government.

The centre is in the process of cancelling the travel document, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said. Mr Jaishankar also took the chance for a jibe against Karnataka’s ruling Congress, declaring the request to cancel the passport was made only on May 21, several days after the scandal broke.

The Congress and the BJP have attacked each other over the Revanna case. The former has pointed to the alliance between the BJP and the JDS to claim Prajwal Revanna is being shielded, while the latter has criticised the state government for delayed reactions. Prajwal Revanna – who faces an arrest warrant from a MP/MLA court – has denied all charges.

A Special Court for Elected Representatives had issued an arrest warrant on May 18 against Prajwal Revanna, following an application moved by the SIT. A ‘Blue Corner Notice’ seeking information on his whereabouts has already been issued by Interpol, following a request by the SIT via the CBI.

Prajwal, son of JDS MLA HD Revanna, is said to be in Germany. His MLA father, the second son of Mr Deve Gowda, is also facing two cases along with Prajwal. One is related to the molestation of a cook, who was also allegedly raped by Prajwal, and the other relates to the kidnapping of a woman. He is out on bail.

Responding to Prajwal’s statement on his return, JDS president HD Kumaraswamy said he was “convinced now that he has some faith in our party workers.” “Deve Gowda had given him a warning and I, too, had appealed to him to come back and face the law. I’m convinced that he has considered our request and has respect for our party workers,” Kumaraswamy said.




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