Updated: July 27, 2021 12:36:59 pm
A special investigation team (SIT) of Bengaluru police has completed its probe into a sex CD episode involving former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi — where a case of sexual assault has been filed against Jarkiholi by a woman and a complaint of extortion against unnamed suspects by the BJP MLA.
The SIT found no evidence to prosecute the case of sexual assault filed by the woman but has found evidence to prosecute the woman and two others who were allegedly involved in the extortion of the BJP MLA, sources said.
The SIT has proposed filing a B report or a closure report in the sexual assault case and a chargesheet in the extortion case. In the investigations of the alleged case of sexual assault, the probe has found no evidence to establish the woman’s claims that the minister offered her a government job to coerce her into a sexual relationship. The probe has found no evidence of the woman seeking a job through the minister as claimed by her. It was found that she was not an engineering graduate as claimed but had dropped out of an engineering course in her second year at college.
The probe has reportedly found that the woman initially approached Jarkiholi, who was water resources minister then, in the guise of being part of a studio and sought permission to shoot videos of dams in the state and developed an intimacy with the minister subsequently.
The investigations in the extortion case have however unearthed a `lot of evidence’ indicating a plot to entrap the BJP MLA and secretly film his sexual encounters with the woman in order to extort funds and blackmail the MLA, sources said.
The probe has recovered a box for a mini camera, that was purchased and used for the recording of the sexual encounters of the minister with the woman, from the paying guest room of the woman. It has also been found that a mobile phone used by the woman for her meetings with Jarkiholi was provided by two other suspects Naresh Gowda and Shravan Kumar – former media employees who are key accused in the extortion case.
The probe has found that the woman approached Jarkiholi only after the two other suspects roped her into a plot. Sources said that technical evidence had been found to indicate that every time the woman met Jarkiholi the other suspects were in the vicinity of the meetings. On one of the occasions, following a meeting with Jarkiholi, the woman is heard telling one of her associates on a cell phone, while leaving an apartment complex, that the job had been done, sources said.
The SIT has informed the Karnataka High Court about the completion of the probe and is awaiting clearance to file reports in a lower court on the findings of the investigations.
Jarkiholi, who was forced to resign as minister in the state BJP government in March this year over rape charge, is hoping to return to the state cabinet in the event of the closure of the case against him. Last month, Jarkiholi, 60, launched a major push for his return to the cabinet by meeting key BJP and RSS leaders and threatened to resign as an MLA due to unhappiness with the state government.
Jarkiholi has alleged that he was ousted as a minister from the BJP government in Karnataka by rivals from within and outside the party who ganged up against him. A re-induction into the cabinet is being targeted by Jarkiholi for a political victory over those behind his ouster.
Initially, in March, Jarkiholi had claimed that a CD that had emerged in the public domain was a fake but he later provided a statement to the SIT saying he was honey-trapped by a gang.
The SIT told a sessions court during an anticipatory bail hearing for the two former media employees (linked to the extortion case) that Jarkiholi had provided a statement saying he had been honey-trapped.
“It is further contended in the objection that the complainant Ramesh L Jarakiholi gave further statement before the respondent (SIT) narrating the sequence of events as to how he was honey trapped by the said lady and the petitioners herein and the manner in which the petitioners extracted money from him,” the sessions court observed in a June 8 order granting anticipatory bail.
The SIT in objections to the anticipatory bail plea of Naresh Gowda and Shravan said that investigations had revealed that the two were part of an organised attempt at trapping the former minister in a compromising situation for extortion.
The SIT constituted by the Karnataka government over the CD case was assigned three FIRs – one of sexual assault filed by the woman against Jarkiholi, a second of extortion filed against a gang of extortionists by the BJP MLA and third of abduction filed by the woman’s father. The SIT has so far filed a closure report in the abduction case filed by the woman’s father based on a statement given to a magistrate by the woman.
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