Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned today after a sex tape was broadcast on local news channels. The video, released by activist Dinesh Kallahalli, shows the minister seeking sexual favours from a woman. Kallahalli has also filed a police complaint accusing Jarkiholi of sexual harassment of a job aspirant. Following the scandal, the party leadership had requested him to quit.
"Allegations against me are far from the truth. Clear investigation is needed. I'll come out innocent, and I'm confident about it. I'm resigning on moral grounds, and I request you to accept this," reads the resignation letter submitted to CM BS Yediyurappa.
"The victim, who hails from North Karnataka, met Jarkiholi recently as she was interested in producing a documentary pom the dams of North Karnataka. Later, he promised her a job in Karnataka Power Transmission (KPTCL) and sexually exploited her. When Jarkiholi found that the victim had the CD, he started threatening her. I have come here on her behalf as she feared for her life," said Kallahalli, as reported by TOI.
Denying the allegations against his brother, BJP MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi said, "The identity of the woman who they claim has faced injustice is not known. Someone gives the complaint claiming her relatives insisted on it... taking such a complaint is wrong because the affected person has to make the complaint, not just anyone from the street." He has also urged for a CBI probe into the matter and threatened a Rs 100 crore suit against those who released the "fake CD".
As per reports, the police shall proceed with the case after taking statements from the woman and her family.
Jarkiholi is amongst the 12 former members of the Congress and JD(S)who jumped ship to the saffron party, resulting in the Kumaraswamy government's fall in 2019. Regarding the footages, Jarkiholi has denied it claiming it to be "part of a larger conspiracy" against him. The footage has come forth as a source of embarrassment for the Yediyurappa government ahead of the state legislature's budget scheduled to commence on March 4th.