Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi landed thick in the middle of a controversy Tuesday after a social activist approached the police accusing him of sexually harassing a woman on the pretext of getting her a government job.
Kannada news channels widely aired video clips purportedly showing Jarkiholi getting intimate with the unidentified woman. Denying any wrongdoing, Jarkiholi said this is “a big shock” and sought an investigation into this. He said it is a “100% fake video
This comes just two days before the start of the all-important Budget session of the legislature, causing embarrassment to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. Jarkiholi, who was in Mysuru, rushed to the city and met Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. He said he would rush to New Delhi to meet the BJP central leadership.
Social activist Dinesh Kallahalli approached Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant who directed him to the Cubbon Park police station to file a complaint. “I don’t know who Kallahalli is. I don’t know who that woman is. I don’t know anything. I’ m in a big shock. Let this be investigated,” Jarkiholi told reporters. “If I'm wrong, let them hang me," he added.
This is not the first sex scandal involving a minister. In 2016, Congress’ HY Meti was forced to resign from the then chief minister Siddaramaiah’s Cabinet after a sleazy tape went public. He, too, was accused of misusing power. In 2010, BJP’s Hartal Halappa resigned when B S Yediyurappa was the CM after he was charged with sexual misconduct. There was no immediate reaction from the chief minister’s office or the ruling BJP on the Jarkiholi controversy.
There was no immediate reaction from the chief minister’s office or the ruling BJP on the Jarkiholi controversy.
However, Union Minister Pralhad Joshi stopped short of admitting that this is an embarrassment. “It must be investigated,” he said. “As leaders, we need to be morally pure. We should be clean. But let’s not jump to conclusions too soon," he added.
K'taka Minister quits over sexual harassment charges
Karnataka Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi on Wednesday tendered his resignation after a video showing him in a compromising situation with a woman, surfaced in the media.
"Allegations against me are far from truth and a probe should be constituted soon. Even though I am confident of emerging innocent, I am tendering my resignation from the state Cabinet on moral grounds," excerpts from Jarkiholi's resignation letter to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa read. He pleaded innocence and appealed to order for an inquiry into the charges against him.
Social activist Dinesh Kallahalli had on Tuesday lodged a complaint at Cubbon Park police station against the Minister for sexually harassing a woman and later, the activist released CD's in support of the allegation. Kallahalli, in his complaint, alleged that Jarkiholi lured the woman by promising her a job in Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited.
It is pertinent to mention here that Jarkiholi had initially refused to step down while his brother and BJP MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi met the Chief Minister earlier in the day demanding a CBI or CID probe into the leaked video of the scandal. However, Mr Yeddyurappa asked him to resign from the post to prevent further embarrassment to the government ahead of the upcoming Budget Session that is set to commence from Thursday.
As per latest reports, the Chief Minister has accepted Jarkiholi's resignation. Moreover, according to sources, Mr Yediyurappa has assured of inducting the tainted Minister into the Cabinet again, if he was cleared of all charges.
Party sources also revealed that BJP National General Secretary B L Santosh spoke to Ramesh Jarkiholi and convinced him to resign to avoid embarrassment to the government. It was learnt that the Minister was under immense pressure from government and BJP leaders, who pressed him for the resignation.Meanwhile, Jarkiholi's supporters staged a protest against his resignation.