The Karnataka government on Wednesday decided to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe allegations made by former state minister Ramesh Jarkiholi that the sex CD scandal episode was a conspiracy to defame him.
Jarkiholi had resigned as a minister following the allegation.
“We have received a complaint that there has been an effort to defame the former minister and to bring him into disrepute politically. They have sought a suitable investigation,” Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said. “After discussion with senior police officers and the CM we have decided to order a comprehensive probe into the people behind the CD – how it was recorded and prepared – through an SIT under additional commissioner of police Soumendu Mukherjee.”
Bommai ordered setting up of the SIT in a letter to the Bengaluru police chief on Wednesday. He mentioned that Jarkiholi wrote to him on March 9, stating that a complaint of sexual harassment lodged against him with Cubbon Park police by a social activist on March 2, 2021 was intended to defame him, and that the conspiracy involves several people.
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Meanwhile, the Jarkiholi family, which claims to have conducted a private probe with the help of private detectives into the alleged scandal, on Wednesday claimed to have identified the key people involved in the alleged conspiracy. “We have used a private detective to collect all information,” BJP MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi, one of five Jarkiholi brothers, said. “We want to ensure there is a solid case. We will name at least two persons in the case so that the conspiracy is revealed when the police arrest them. We wanted to be sure of their roles before we lodge the case.”
Police sources said a formal investigation into the case was delayed since March 2 on account of doubts over who the victim really is – Jarkiholi, or the woman seen in the recordings, as it had been alleged by social activist Dinesh Kallahalli that the relationship allegedly involved coercion.
Kallahalli has since sought to withdraw the harassment allegation he made against Jarkiholi but is likely to face investigations since he is a key link in the former minister’s complaint of defamation conspiracy.
Politics, meanwhile, played out over the episode, with state minister S T Somashekhar accusing opposition Congress of being behind the scandal, and the state Congress hitting back. “The Congress is behind the CD conspiracy. I have been in that party for 20 years and I know this,” Somashekhar stated.
While welcoming the probe into the CD ‘conspiracy’, state Congress president D K Shivakumar rebuffed allegations that the Congress is behind the conspiracy. He said, “Let the BJP ministers reveal what all we have done…. Did we ask you to say the things you said? Did we ask you to say the CM is corrupt? Did we ask you to speak against the people of Karnataka? Did we script it? We will also not sit quietly.”
He said, “Let them carry out any investigation that they want. When we (Congress) say the government is corrupt, it is a different matter. But here (in the CDs) a sitting minister of the government is [purportedly] saying that the Chief Minister is corrupt — should there not be an investigation into the matter? I do not know how the Chief Minister is tolerating all this.”
Stating that Jarkiholi and he were “together once upon a time”, and subsequently “distanced myself from him”, the Congress leader said, “If you are a good person why would people trap you? You should be conscious of yourself…. Let them make allegations against me – this is a game of political chess.”
The state Congress chief also said, “If it is a fake CD then why is there a necessity for a case and a probe? People can discern between fake and real things.”
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