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Karnataka minister quits over sex scandal

In his brief letter to the chief minister, Mr Jarkiholi contested the allegation but said he was resigning on moral grounds even though there was no truth in the charge against him.“ I believe that I am innocent but am resigning on moral grounds,“ he wrote, while seeking a probe into the affair.

Statesman News Service | Bengaluru |

Ramesh Jarkiholi, water resources minister in the B S Yediyurappa government, resigned today following the release of a controversial compact disc allegedly involving him and a woman in a “sex for job” scandal.

The resignation, which was forced on the minister by the BJP’s central leadership following the accompanying furore and embarrassment, comes a day before the monthlong Budget session of the state Assembly commences.

An embarrassed Mr Yediyurappa is learnt to have assured Jarkiholi while seeking his resignation that he would be re-inducted once his name was cleared. BJP national general secretary B L Santosh too spent time in convincing him to resign to spare the government a major discomfort.

The party is learnt to have moved fast in this case prompted by the ensuing Assembly polls in major states.

In his brief letter to the chief minister, Mr Jarkiholi contested the allegation but said he was resigning on moral grounds even though there was no truth in the charge against him.“ I believe that I am innocent but am resigning on moral grounds,“ he wrote, while seeking a probe into the affair.

The controversy erupted after an RTI activist, Dinesh Kallahalli, met the Bengaluru police commissioner, Kamal Pant, and sought protection for the unidentified woman concerned.

Urging the police to institute an enquiry into the incident, he alleged that the minister had taken advantage of the woman who went to seek help in getting a government job. According to Mr Kallahalli, the woman had contacted him as she feared for her life while maintaining that the question of going public did not arise in view of the influence that the powerful minister wielded.

Minutes after the details went public, political parties and other organisations went on the offensive. While the BJP minister, who has won six consecutive elections from Gokak, had called the allegations a “honey trap”, his supporters claimed that the whole issue was an attempt to undermine him. A former Congressman, he was instrumental in breaking the JDS-Congress combine under H D Kumaraswamy’s chief ministership in 2019 by taking a group of his partymen and JDS legislators to the BJP. Subsequently, he won the bypoll on a BJP ticket.

Previously, in 2016, Congress minister HY Meti was forced to resign from the K Siddaramaiah cabinet after a sex tape went public. In the past three BJP ministers also had to resign after allegedly watching porn in the Assembly.