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Former Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi undergoes Covid treatment in Belagavi, misses SIT interrogation

According to sources in the SIT which is probing the case, Jarkholi had cited illness as the reason for not making himself available for investigation on Friday.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: April 6, 2021 12:46:47 am
Ramesh JarkiholiRamesh Jarkiholi (file photo)

Gokak MLA and former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been admitted to a government hospital in his hometown of Belagavi, health officials confirmed Monday.

Jarkiholi failed to attend two interrogation sessions — one of them was scheduled for Monday and the other one earlier on Friday — that he was called in for by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) which is investigating the sexual harassment case filed by a woman in Bengaluru.

According to sources in the SIT which is probing the case, Jarkholi had cited illness as the reason for not making himself available for investigation on Friday.

According to Dr Ravindra of Gokak Taluk Hospital, Jarkiholi’s results returned positive after he underwent rapid antigen test on Thursday night. “The test (on Thursday night) was done after he complained of some symptoms. Also, he had travelled to Maharashtra and Bengaluru in the last few days, where the number of Covid cases is high,” he said.

The doctor added that the 60-year-old legislator was also diagnosed with low saturation and blood pressure levels. “He (Jarkiholi) was shifted to the ICU as he was suffering from difficulties in breathing. His oxygen level and blood pressure levels are low and he is also a diabetic,” the doctor said.

He added that Jarkiholi has been kept under observation and has been advised to rest for the next three to four days.

Meanwhile, district health officials said that the minister was initially advised home isolation but was admitted to the hospital after “his health condition worsened on Sunday night”.

At the same time, Urban Development Minister Byrathi Basavaraj told reporters in Belagavi that Jarkiholi would rejoin the campaigning for the upcoming bypolls after recovering. “I spoke to Jarkiholi and asked him about his health. He will rejoin the election campaigning soon after he recovers from the infection,” he said.

Meanwhile, the woman, who had accused Jarkiholi of sexual harassment alleged on Sunday that the police was “being biased” in the probe favouring the former minister.

“After seeing the entire process, I am in doubt whether I am a victim or an accused,” the woman said in her letter, which was shared on social media. She also alleged that the SIT questioned the accused only for three hours and let him off without any restriction while she was being subjected to continuous interrogation.

However, Jarkiholi’s lawyer dismissed allegations against the MLA, saying he has cooperated with the probe till date. “He has contracted Covid-19 and is in treatment. Otherwise he would have appeared for the SIT probe today. Whenever the police wanted, he has always appeared for questioning, even when the woman (in the purported video) was incognito,” Jarkiholi’s lawyer said in Bengaluru.

Earlier, on March 3 last month, Jarkiholi had resigned as the Water Resources Minister following allegations of sexual harassment against him. He had then filed a formal police complaint alleging extortion, forgery and criminal conspiracy against unnamed persons. Since then, the former minister has maintained that the video was fake and he was innocent, denying all allegations against him.

 

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