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Sex, lies and videotape in Indian politics

Sex scandals are not new to Indian politics. Veteran Congress politician Narayan Dutt Tiwari, who resigned on Saturday as the Andhra Pradesh governor after a sex tape purportedly showed him with three women, is a new entry in a list of such sleaze that has littered the political landscape.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, New Delhi
UPDATED ON DEC 26, 2009 07:53 PM IST

Sex scandals are not new to Indian politics. Veteran Congress politician Narayan Dutt Tiwari, who resigned on Saturday as the Andhra Pradesh governor after a sex tape purportedly showed him with three women, is a new entry in a list of such sleaze that has littered the political landscape.

Barely a week back, a general secretary of the Congress party in Kerala, Rajmohan Unnithan, 57, was granted bail after he was held on charges of immoral trafficking for being found in the company of a woman under suspicious circumstances.

Sleaze raised its ugly head during the April-May Lok Sabha elections, when film star-turned-politician Jaya Prada alleged that rival leader Azam Khan was distributing nude pictures of her, to ensure her defeat in the polls.

She alleged Khan "distributed, doctored and morphed" pictures and posters of her that appeared as though she had posed in the nude.

The Kashmir Valley was rocked in May 2006 after police unearthed a scam allegedly involving high profile politicians and bureaucrats. The case drags on in a court. The bitter memories of the scam returned this summer afresh after allegations that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah figured in the list of the accused, forcing him to resign.

However, he withdrew his resignation after the Central Bureau of Investigation said his name had not cropped up.

Scams have also hit the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In December 2005, a sting operation forced the party's general secretary and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) insider Sanjay Joshi to quit his party after a video CD allegedly showed him romping with an unidentified woman.

Amarmani Tripathi, a politician and erstwhile cabinet minister in Uttar Pradesh, was arrested in September 2003 in connection with the murder of poetess Madhumita Shukla, with whom he allegedly had an affair, and who was brutally murdered.

After investigations revealed that she was carrying a foetus that matched the DNA of Tripathi, the Supreme Court rejected his bail plea, and he is currently in jail.

Former Utarakhand revenue minister Harak Singh Rawat had to resign in 2003 amid allegations of his links with an unwed mother. Opposition members had raised the issue of his alleged affair with the Assamese woman who later gave birth to a child.

In 2001, news portal Tehelka in its "Operation West End", sought to expose corruption underlying India's defence contracts. Transcript of video footage showed a treasurer of the Samata Party offering to arrange call girls to undercover journalists.

Even some army officers came under the scanner when they were filmed demanding sex with prostitutes from Tehelka journalists in return for defence contracts.

In October 1997, one of the prominent leaders in Kerala, P.K. Kunjalikutty was accused of being a kingpin of what came to be notoriously known as the "ice-cream parlour scandal".

An ice-cream parlour in Kozhikode was allegedly used as a front for a sex trade and lured girls into it. The sexual exploitation of minors also came up. Kunjalikutty was the state's former minister from the Muslim League. Some comrades of the Communist Party of India-Marxist were also named.

In 1978, then defence minister Jagjivan Ram's son Suresh was shown with a woman in a photograph that was published in monthly magazine Surya. Now BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi, was then the editor of the magazine.

The scandal involving the minister's son rocked the nation and put an end to Jagjivan Ram's political career, who before that had been a strong contender for the prime minister's post.

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