JD(S) MP, father booked in sexual harassment case | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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JD(S) MP, father booked in sexual harassment case

By, Bengaluru
Apr 29, 2024 08:37 AM IST

The complaint came when the state government ordered the formation of a SIT to probe a series of obscene videos circulating in Hassan district of Karnataka

A first information report alleging sexual harassment was lodged on Sunday against Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna and his father HD Revanna, an MLA representing Holenarasipur, based on a complaint by a woman who had worked at Revanna’s house. She alleged she was sexually abused multiple times between 2019 and 2022.

hrough his election agent, Prajwal Revanna has lodged a complaint with the authorities that the videos are “doctored” (HT)
hrough his election agent, Prajwal Revanna has lodged a complaint with the authorities that the videos are “doctored” (HT)

The complaint came when the state government ordered the formation of a special investigation team to probe a series of obscene videos circulating in Hassan district of Karnataka involving Prajwal Revanna of the Janata Dal (Secular) party, some of which appeared to depict sexual assault. Prajwal Revanna is the grandson of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda.

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“In the fourth month of my employment, Revanna began summoning me to his quarters,” the woman said in her complaint. “In a household with six female staff members, apprehension gripped us whenever Prajwal Revanna returned home. Even male colleagues cautioned us to exercise caution.”

In her complaint, the woman claimed that HD Revanna and Prajwal Revanna used to sexually assault women workers in their homes. “Whenever (HD) Revanna’s wife wasn’t there, he used to call the women to the storeroom and touch them while giving them fruits. He used to remove saree pins and sexually assault women,” she added.

Based on the complaint, police have registered a case under pertinent sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (outraging modesty of a woman). The FIR has been transferred to the SIT formed to probe the allegations against Prajwal Revanna.

“The government has decided to set up a special investigation team to look into the case involving an obscene video of Prajwal Revanna,” chief minister Siddaramaiah announced on Saturday. “There are reports of obscene video clips circulating in Hassan district, suggesting possible instances of sexual assault against women.”

The decision to initiate the probe was made following a request from the Women’s Commission, as stated by the Congress government. “The chairperson of the Women’s Commission had written to the government, requesting an SIT investigation, and this decision has been made in response to their request,” Siddaramaiah said. “Explicit video clips are being circulated in Hassan, indicating potential instances of sexual assault.”

The investigation will be headed by BK Singh, additional director general of police, criminal investigation department .

The Janata Dal (Secular) on Sunday welcomed the probe. “If there is any wrongdoing, there should be action. We welcome the investigation by the government. We are open to any kind of investigation,” JD(S) core committee chairman GT Devegowda said at a press briefing on Sunday.

However, he ignored questions on why Prajwal Revanna had sought a court injunction last year against the airing of videos about him. Regarding demands for action against the MP by the party, Gowda said, “We respect women. There is a high command in the party. We will discuss the issue in the party forum and decide on the action.”

“There is no question of forgiving any mistake,” said former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy of the JD(S). “Uppu thindavanu neeru kudiyabeku (whoever has consumed salt, will have to drink water).” Kumaraswamy is uncle to Prajwal Revanna.

Prajwal Revanna has left the country since the formation of the SIT, Karnataka home minister G Parameshwara said . “I was told that he has left the country. It is left to the SIT hereafter,” he said. “Once a government order is announced, it is left to the SIT to procure him back to India and investigate.”

On Wednesday, Poornachandra Tejaswi MG, election agent of the Janata Dal (S) and Bharatiya Janata Party, had lodged an FIR alleging the videos were fake. In the complaint, he accused individuals including Naveen Gowda of circulating manipulated videos and images intended to defame Prajwal Revanna.

“Naveen Gowda and others altered videos and images and circulated them to voters in the Hassan Lok Sabha segment using pen drives, CDs and WhatsApp, aiming to tarnish Prajwal Revanna’s reputation and dissuade people from voting for him,” the FIR alleged. It is unclear who Naveen Gowda is as the FIR only mentions the name and not who they are. Repeated attempts to contact Poornachandra Tejaswi for his remarks over the matter remained unanswered as his phone was switched off.

Meanwhile, BJP leaders said the party’s leader from Karnataka’s Hassan district had warned the state leadership about allegations that Prajwal Revanna was sexually abusing women months before his name was announced as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the Hassan parliamentary constituency.

“If we align with the JD(S) and if we nominate a JD(S) candidate in Hassan for the Lok Sabha elections, these videos can be used as a brahmastra (weapon) and we will be tainted as a party that aligned with the family of a rapist. This will be a big blow to the image of our party nationally,” party leader Devaraje Gowda said in a letter asking state party chief B Y Vijayendra to bring this information to the attention of national leaders and convince them not to align with HD Revanna’s family in Hassan district.

Through his election agent, Prajwal has lodged a complaint with the authorities that the videos are “doctored” and being circulated to tarnish his image ahead of the elections.

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