Updated: May 26, 2021 6:47:58 am
Two former employees of a local television media in Karnataka, suspected to be involved in an alleged extortion case filed by former BJP minister Ramesh Jarkiholi over a sex CD scandal earlier this year, have sought anticipatory bail from a local court fearing arrest by a Special Investigations Team (SIT) that is probing the case.
The two youths, R Shravan Kumar, a former video editor, and Naresh Gowda, a former journalist, who went underground soon after the alleged sex video went viral on March 2, are yet to be tracked down by an SIT of the Karnataka police constituted to investigate the case.
The two youths filed the anticipatory bail plea last week after Jarkiholi was subjected to a medical test ahead of what are seen as steps being taken by the SIT to file chargesheets.
The SIT is investigating three separate cases arising out of the sex CD episode: one of an alleged extortion attempt against the then minister in the BJP government, a second of alleged rape filed against the minister by a young woman seen in the alleged video, and a third case filed by the family of the woman alleging that she was being coerced by a gang.
While the young woman came out of hiding in March and filed a complaint against the former BJP minister, the two youths, who are alleged to have played key roles in carrying out video recordings and their distributions, have been underground for over two months.
The former BJP minister has not named anybody in his complaint of extortion, forgery and criminal conspiracy over the sex CD but has suggested a political conspiracy to defame him through the whole episode and has hinted at the involvement of rivals in the Congress party.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, in his first press conference after being forced to resign over the sex CD scandal, had claimed that “a top leader is involved in this conspiracy.”
Jarkiholi, who had earlier been insisting that the alleged sex CD was fake, has changed his position on the authenticity of the CD, sources said.
Earlier, as part of its investigations into the case the SIT had searched the home of the former television journalist Naresh Gowda, in the Tumkur region of Karnataka, who is considered to be a close associate of a top political leader.
Police sources said that the probe done so far, including the recovery of unedited recordings that went into the creation of the alleged sex CD, has indicated that Jarkiholi was trapped by a gang targeting him.
A close male friend of the woman in the CD has provided a statement to the police about meetings of the alleged gang members before the alleged sex CD was released and their activities but he was not completely aware of what the gang was up to, police sources said.
The SIT has found that an unaccounted amount of Rs 20 lakh was deposited in the bank account of Shravan Kumar’s brother around the period when the alleged sex CD was released on social media and television channels.
The SIT has found that at the same time the former TV journalist Naresh Gowda attempted to buy a high-end car with a Rs 40 lakh cash payment to a showroom near Bengaluru, a deal which fell through after showroom officials refused to carry out a cash transaction.
In a video statement issued on March 18 – after parents of the woman alleged that she had been abducted by a gang – Naresh Gowda said that the woman had approached him to seek justice over sexual harassment by Jarkiholi. The SIT also found Rs 9.2 lakh in cash at the Bengaluru paying guest facility where the woman linked to the alleged sex CD used to reside.
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