Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has tendered his resignation as the Water Resources Minister in the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government after charges of sexual harassment were brought against him.
In his resignation letter, Jarkiholi has written, “... allegations against me are far from the truth. A clear investigation is needed. I'll come out as innocent and I'm confident about it. I'm resigning on moral grounds and I request you to accept this.”
Jarkiholi has been caught in a major scandal when a sex tape capturing him in a compromising position with a woman broke out. When the news had initially emerged, Jarkiholi claimed that the video was “forged” and that he would quit politics if proven guilty.
“It’s a fake video. I don’t even know the woman and the complainant. I was in Mysuru and went to Chamundeshwari Temple. I do not even know what that video is about because I never spoke to that woman,” said the BJP minister. He added that he would meet with his high command to convey a clarification about the alleged video.
“I will resign from my MLA post and quit politics if these serious allegations against me are proven true. I have spoken to Chief Minister [BS Yediyurappa] and I will seek action against the culprits,” Jarkiholi had said.
The sex tape was released to the media by social activist Dinesh Kalahalli, who alleged that the woman in the video clips was enticed by the minister with a government job offer at Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited. The activist said that the family of the woman had approached him seeking justice last week.
After filing the complaint, Kalahalli told reporters that this CD contained visuals of the minister allegedly seeking sexual favours from a victim. “Complaint has been filed by me and not by the victim as she is afraid for her life,” he said. Kalahalli claimed that when the minister discovered that the woman possessed the objectionable videos, he threatened her and her family.
“Since I am into social activism, they approached me with the complaint and the CD and shared all the details. Please investigate the truth of the matter, file a criminal case against the minister and provide protection to the victim,” he stated in the complaint.
Union Minister Pralhad Joshi who had addressed the allegations earlier in the day said that the authenticity of the alleged sex tape needs to be verified before reaching conclusions. “We can’t jump to conclusions. We need to know the truth. If it’s true, then it’s embarrassing. We leaders need to be morally right. That’s our BJP policy,” Joshi said.
Meanwhile, BJP MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi today sought a CBI probe into allegations of sexual harassment against his brother Ramesh Jarkiholi, and also threatened to file Rs 100 crore defamation case against those who released a “fake CD”.
This development comes days ahead of the Karnataka budget session and at a time when BJP is gearing up for the upcoming assembly elections.