Updated: March 16, 2021 8:13:10 am
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Bengaluru police investigating the alleged attempt to blackmail former state minister Ramesh Jarkiholi with a sex CD purportedly featuring the minister is looking at the role of an organised gang of more than seven people in creating and distributing the CD, according to police sources.
Investigations have revealed that the group held a joint meeting in Bengaluru a day before the CD was released in public, sources said.
The SIT has questioned several people suspected to have knowledge of the CD, including a male friend of the woman seen in the video, it is learnt. The woman did not appear before the police even on Monday and is reportedly on the run with two other key wanted persons in the case, according to sources.
Jarkiholi, 60, resigned on March 3 after the CD, with edited recordings of his allegedly consensual relationship with the young woman, made its way to media channels and the Internet after it was put out in public domain by unidentified persons on March 2.
The male friend of the woman in the video – he is said to be an aspiring actor – and two of his close associates have been questioned by police in the last few days and one of them was released Sunday after his family from Bhalki region of north Karnataka filed a missing complaint regarding the young man.
The police have also questioned, and released, a young man who worked with a private TV channel as a voice-over artiste over his role in providing bits of voice-over for the contentious CD released on channels. His voice sample has been obtained to compare with those on the CD, sources said.
Three key persons in the group believed to be behind the creation and sharing of the video, including the woman seen in it, are untraceable still.
Police had put up notices at the home of the woman and her family in north Karnataka on Sunday, seeking her cooperation in the probe.
Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said, “I would not like to comment on day-to-day progress in investigations. The SIT is investigating the case and details of progress will be provided by the SIT. We have given (them) full freedom.”
According to sources, among the two other key missing persons from the group suspected to be involved is a former journalist who is alleged to have played a central role, and a video editor with a private channel who is alleged to have uploaded the CD to Internet on March 2. The latter is suspected to be one of the early handlers of the recordings.
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