Prajwal clips’ leak a conspiracy against Vokkaligas, alleges LoP | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Prajwal clips’ leak a conspiracy against Vokkaligas, alleges LoP

By, Bengaluru
May 20, 2024 07:54 AM IST

R Ashoka accused key Congress leaders, including Randeep Surjewala, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar and chief minister Siddaramaiah, of orchestrating the scandal

R Ashoka, Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, on Sunday alleged that explicit videos involving Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna were leaked as part of a political conspiracy aimed at discrediting the Vokkaliga community.

Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly R Ashoka’s remarks come after a senior BJP leader and associates of a former BJP MLA were arrested in connection with the case (PTI)
Leader of Opposition in the Karnataka assembly R Ashoka’s remarks come after a senior BJP leader and associates of a former BJP MLA were arrested in connection with the case (PTI)

Ashoka’s remarks come after a senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and associates of a former BJP MLA were arrested in connection with the case.

Speaking to the media, Ashoka accused key Congress leaders, including Randeep Surjewala, deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar and chief minister Siddaramaiah, of orchestrating the scandal.

“This is a master plan devised by Surjewala, DK Shivakumar, and Siddaramaiah to tarnish Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image and dismantle the Vokkaliga community. Siddaramaiah has already marginalised the Dalit community by preventing G Parameshwara from becoming the chief minister. Now, their target is the Vokkaliga community,” he asserted.

Ashoka’s statements come as the involvement of BJP leaders in the Prajwal Revanna case has been widening the gap with its alliance partner JD(S). Last week, two associates of former BJP MLA Preetham Gowda were arrested for the alleged distribution of the videos. The SIT also raided the former MLA’s residence, who had openly voiced his disappointment towards the alliance.

The explicit videos of alleged sexual abuse by Prajwal Revanna had been making the rounds on social media, and the government formed the SIT on April 28 to probe the case after the Karnataka State Commission for Women wrote a letter to chief minister Siddaramaiah seeking an investigation into it. A blue corner notice has been issued by the Interpol against Prajwal.

HD Revanna, who is the elder son of JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda and father or Prajwal, was arrested along with his confidant Sathish Babanna for allegedly abducting a woman on April 29.

The SIT has arrested Devaraje Gowda, an advocate, who contested the assembly election from Holenarsipur on the BJP ticket in 2023 in connection with the leak. He had lost the election to former minister HD Revanna and is known for his rivalry with Revanna’s family.

“After the BJP leader’s role in the case has become public, both parties have been desperately trying to make the issue about Vokkaligas and our deputy chief minister (DK Shivakumar). They want to divert the attention from the scandal and make it a caste issue,” said a senior Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) office-bearer on the condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, Devaraje Gowda has accused Shivakumar and four other ministers of being behind the release of the compromising videos allegedly involving Prajwal Revanna. Gowda, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the leak, had previously claimed to possess incriminating videos and photos related to the Hassan MP. When these clips went viral last month, he blamed Congress leaders for the act.

From the police vehicle en route to judicial custody on Friday, Devaraje Gowda alleged that Shivakumar had offered him a bribe to participate in the smear campaign.

“Shivakumar sent me 5 crore as an advance. When I refused, false cases were lodged against me, leading to my arrest. Once released, I will expose him fully. The Congress government in Karnataka is doomed,” he claimed.

He further claimed that he was pressured to accuse HD Kumaraswamy of circulating the pen drives containing the scandalous videos.

He insisted it was Shivakumar who orchestrated the leak, acquiring the pen drive from Karthik Gowda, a former driver for Prajwal Revanna.

According to Gowda, a team of ministers, including N Cheluvarayaswamy, Krishna Byre Gowda, and Priyank Kharge, was assembled to manage the fallout from the scandal. “Their goal was to discredit Modi, Kumaraswamy, and the BJP. They offered me 100 crore and 5 crore was delivered to Bowring Club’s Room No. 110 through a local leader named Gopalaswamy,” Gowda claimed.

He also claimed that Shivakumar aimed to politically destroy Kumaraswamy. “When I refused to cooperate, they framed me in an atrocity case, then a sexual harassment case, and finally a rape case. Despite extensive interrogation, they found no evidence,” Gowda stated.

Gowda promised to release audio recordings of his conversations with Shivakumar, predicting the collapse of the Congress government once these are made public. On May 6, Gowda had accused Shivakumar of releasing the pen drive to malign Prime Minister Modi.

Rejecting the allegations on Saturday, Shivakumar said: “If Devaraje Gowda has any proof, he must lodge a complaint with the Lokayukta. He must be mentally unstable and my sympathies are with him. The media is aware and intelligent enough to separate the chaff from the grain. It is not correct to report whatever is said.”

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