Activist withdraws complaint that led to Ramesh Jarkiholi’s resignation
- In a letter to the Cubbon Park police station, Dinesh Kalahalli said that the complaint had taken a sinister turn wherein the character of the alleged victim was being questioned.
Dinesh Kalahalli, a self proclaimed social activist, on Sunday withdrew his earlier complaint of sexual harassment and exploitation against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and former Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi.
In a letter to the Cubbon Park police station, Kalahalli said that the complaint had taken a sinister turn wherein the character of the alleged victim was being questioned.
"If the cloth falls on a thorn or a thorn falls on a cloth, only the cloth tears," Kalahalli said in his letter to emphasise on the reports raising questions on the victim's character.
Kalahalli could not be reached for comment.
The activist's complaint on March 2 had forced Jarkiholi on the back foot and he eventually resigned from chief minister BS Yediyurappa's cabinet.
A video of what appears to be Jarkiholi getting physically intimate with an unnamed woman was played by Kannada TV news channels. A phone call allegedly between the Jarkiholi and the unnamed woman was also being played repeatedly.
In one such call, a person believed to be Jarkiholi is heard stating that Yediyirurappa was indulging in corruption.
Jarkiholi was among the 17 legislators who had defected from the HD Kumaraswamy-led Janata Dal (Secular) or JD(S)-Congress coalition government in 2019 and helped Yediyurappa come to power.
"This is a big political conspiracy to defame Ramesh Jarkiholi, our family and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)," Balachandra Jarkiholi, a BJP legislator and Ramesh Jarkiholi’s brother said on Sunday.
He said that there were two main conspirators and seven others backing them
He alleged the conspirators had paid around ₹15 crore to upload the video from Russia and that seven servers were used for this.
He added that they would consult legal experts to discuss the way forward.
Balachandra also said that it was possible that Kalahalli was also "misguided" by the main conspirators.
Balachandra first said that this was a possible case of honey trapping, possibly implying that his brother Ramesh was indeed the man in the video.
He later said that the video itself was "100%" fake that was edited and stitched together with the help of the latest technology..
Since the complaint, Kalahalli has kept a low profile and is reported to have shared very minimal details with the police about the alleged victim or her family.
Since the video of Ramesh Jarkiholi, at least six other ministers from the Yediyurappa government have approached the courts seeking injunctions against the publishing or broadcasting of any material that may be considered defamatory.
The six ministers are K.Sudhakar, Narayana Gowda, Shivaram Hebbar, BC Patil, Byrathi Basavaraj and ST Somashekar. All seven, including Jarkiholi, were among the 17 turncoats who defected to the BJP and were made ministers by Yediyurappa.
The incident has left Yediyurappa in a tough spot as he had taken it upon himself personally to placate the turncoats into his cabinet as a reward for helping him to power for a record fourth term as chief minister.
The scandal involving Jarkiholi had left the BJP red-faced in Karnataka, further pushing them into a corner ahead of the budget, scheduled to be presented on March 8.
Balachandra Jarkiholi also said that this case should be given to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) since the video was allegedly uploaded on YouTube from Russia.
He also said that the home and law minister were preparing a draft law to punish people who use fake cases to blackmail eminent citizens.
The case also gave more ammunition to the opposition to attack the Yediyurappa government.
Former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had said that there was an alleged exchange of ₹5 crore in the scandal.
His predecessor from the Congress, Siddaramaiah said that the case can be withdrawn but the video of the former minister (Ramesh Jarkiholi) was there for everyone to see.
Ramesh Jarkiholi has kept a low profile since the complaint but it remains to be seen if Yediyurappa can reinstate the leader into his cabinet or wait till the case runs its course.