'Phones of my family and supporters being tapped,' Kumaraswamy alleges; govt denies it | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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'Phones of my family and supporters being tapped,' Kumaraswamy alleges; govt denies it

PTI | | Posted by Yamini C S
May 21, 2024 12:30 PM IST

Kumaraswamy alleges phone tapping, appeals for nephew's return amid sexual assault video scandal.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister and JD(S) second-in-command H D Kumaraswamy on Monday alleged that 40 phones including his own and those of his family members and supporters are being tapped. Even as he made an appeal to his nephew and Hassan JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna to come back to the country, Kumaraswamy accused the government of spying on himself and his family. Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar and Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara dismissed the allegation as baseless and a means to gain publicity.

HD Kumaraswamy. (AP)
HD Kumaraswamy. (AP)

“Our phones are being tapped. I know it. Forty phones of people around me are being tapped. Whatever discussions are happening on phone are being monitored. H D Revanna’s phone is also being tapped,” Kumaraswamy alleged. Revanna is Kumaraswamy’s brother who was released on bail in kidnapping and sexual assault cases.

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The JD(S) 'first family' is in trouble after a huge cache of explicit videos showing many women being sexually assaulted and filmed allegedly by Prajwal became public. Prajwal, grandson of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda and son of Revanna, is hiding in a foreign country as the Karnataka government formed a Special Investigation Team to probe the case. The 33-year-old JD(S) leader is the NDA’s Lok Sabha candidate from Hassan, against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by a court.

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Interpol has also issued a Blue Corner Notice seeking information on his whereabouts. Kumaraswamy appealed publicly to his nephew to return to India and cooperate with the investigation. “Come back to India and cooperate with the investigation. How long this ‘police and thief’ game will go on? Your grandfather always wanted you to grow politically. If you want to honour his reputation, then come back to India,” he said. He added that he has asked his brother Revanna to help bring back his son.

Kumaraswamy, who is the JD(S) state president, claimed that if he knew beforehand about the explicit videos and sexual assault cases, he would not have allowed him to flee the country. He also apologised to the victims of the sexual assault case. “I once again publicly apologise to my mothers and sisters who are passing through painful mental agony. I understand their sufferings,” the JD(S) second-in-command said.

“I would like to say that many such cases have happened. The intensity of such cases may be high or low. It is such a case which is unacceptable and makes us hang our heads in shame,” he noted. Accusing DCM Shivakumar of being the "architect" ("sutradhari") of distribution of thousands of pen drives carrying the sexual assault videos, Kumaraswamy said, “You (Shivakumar) are the lead person for distributing those pen drives. Case should be filed against Shivakumar and Shivarame Gowda.” The JD(S) leader was referring to an audio going viral in which senior Congress leader L R Shivarame Gowda is purportedly heard telling BJP leader G Devaraje Gowda to distribute pen drives containing the explicit videos.

“Distribute the pen drive and put the blame on Kumaraswamy, creating an impression that he wanted to promote his son (Nikhil Kumaraswamy),” Shivarame Gowda has purportedly said in the audio. He further allegedly "advised" Devaraje Gowda not to underestimate the JD(S) first family, including former PM Deve Gowda, Kumaraswamy and other members of his family. “The government is committed to ruin their (Deve Gowda and his family) lives. I am surprised why Deve Gowda has not died by suicide yet,” Shivarame Gowda is allegedly heard telling Devaraje Gowda in the audio clip.

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In response, Devaraje Gowda allegedly told him that sharing these videos would badly affect the lives of many women. To this, Shivarame Gowda allegedly replied that there was no need to bother about it. The JD(S) took to social media saying that the audio makes clear the intention of the Congress to finish Deve Gowda’s family. Dismissing the accusation of phone tapping, Shivakumar, who is also Congress Karnataka unit president, said Kumaraswamy and Revanna were not terrorists to warrant such action.

Speaking to reporters at his residence, he said, "Government taps phones of terrorists with due processes. There is no need to tap the phones of political leaders in the state. They are casting these aspersions for publicity." He also said he has nothing to do with the "pen drive case". Home Minister Parameshwara too rejected the charge of phonetapping. "I deny it totally. If he has any proof that his phone is being tapped by so and so... (he should bring it forward)," he told reporters in Hubballi.

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