In his resignation letter, he has denied the allegations, suggesting they were “far from truth”. “As fair investigation should take place, I’m resigning on moral grounds,” he wrote, according to ANI.
Purported videos of the unidentified women and the minister, as well as some telephone conversations, were shared on social media. The videos were also aired by Kannada news channels, reported PTI.
Bengaluru activist Dinesh Kallahalli, who filed the complaint, has alleged that the minister threatened the woman after he was told about the clips. Kallahalli said her family approached him for help fearing for her life.
Kallahalli said that he has submitted a CD of all the video and audio clips to the police. In his complaint, the activist said that the woman had approached Jarkiholi to seek permission to use drone cameras to shoot a dam for a documentary.
Following this, both of them met several times as the minister reportedly sought to know more about the woman. He also allegedly promised her a job at Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation.
Unidentified officials said the woman not only recorded their meetings but also every meeting and phone conversation she had with Jarkiholi. “The reason behind these records is also part of the probe,” a senior police officer said.
Based on his complaint, the Cubbon Park Police have registered a non-cognisable report and are looking into the allegations. “We have received a petition about the alleged incident and are probing the matter,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police of Central Division MN Anucheth.
Speaking about the incident on Wednesday, Karnataka Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the police will inquire into the allegations against Jarkiholi.
Deputy Chief Minister Ashwathnarayan CN said it was not right to comment on the matter without knowing the facts. He added that the allegation may be born out of malice. “There is no clarity... complaint has been lodged, let the truth come out,” Narayan said. “...Without knowing truth, it is not right to comment or pass judgements, it was not clear whether the allegations were made out of any malice, so no question of giving importance to it now.”
‘Don’t even know what the video is about’
Before resigning, Jarkiholi had denied the allegations against him, reported NDTV. He claimed that he did not know the complainant or the woman. “I am going to meet my high command to convey a clarification about the alleged video,” Jarkiholi had said. “I was in Mysuru and I went to Chamundeshwari Temple. I do not even know what that video is about because I never spoke to that woman. I will resign from my MLA post and politics if these allegations are proven against me.”
The minister said that he has spoken to Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa about the alleged incident. “A thorough investigation must be conducted in this issue,” he added.
Opposition demands FIR against minister
The Opposition in the state had demanded Jarkiholi’s resignation before he quit his post. “If that party [BJP] has shame and if they respect human values immediately they have to take his resignation,” said Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah.
The Congress leader also demanded that an FIR be registered against the minister. Meanwhile, Congress workers in Bengaluru also staged a protest against Jarkiholi over the alleged incident.
On the Opposition demands, Bommai said that the Bharatiya Janata Party will take a decision on it.
BJP verifying authenticity of alleged tape
Union minister Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday said that the BJP will take action against Jarakiholi after verifying the authenticity of the alleged videotape.
“I have seen the video of state minister Ramesh Jarakiholi in the media,” the Union minister told reporters. “I will speak to the Chief Minister [BS Yediyurappa] and the party chief about it tomorrow. We will check the authenticity of the CD and take action accordingly.”
Joshi also noted that the incident was an embarrassment for the BJP. “Being a disciplined party, the BJP would not tolerate such things,” he added. “Leaders should be clean in public and private life.”