The woman in the sexual harassment case involving BJP legislator Ramesh Jarkiholi on Friday submitted a complaint to Bengaluru police commissioner Kamal Pant through her lawyer, seeking action against the former minister. Pant asked the lawyer to approach the Cubbon Park station to file a complaint.
Acting on the complaint, the Cubbon Park police registered an FIR against Jarkiholi under sections 354A (sexual harassment), 504 (intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 417 (cheating) of the IPC and 67A ((transmitting obscene material) of the IT Act.
The woman filed the complaint through advocate KM Jagadesh, who reached the station with a complaint letter written and signed by the woman. In her complaint, the woman accused Jarkiholi of sexually assaulting, cheating, and threatening her after promising her a government job. She alleged that the former minister forced her to share private pictures with him.
In a 30-second video released hours earlier, the woman said had found the courage to approach the police after receiving support from the people and political leaders in the state. It was the third video she had released since March 2. The police are yet to register a first information report (FIR) so far.
The woman had released a second video on Thursday doubting the Special Investigating Team’s (SIT) investigation into the scandal. In that clip she said she had sent a video statement to the SIT and the police commissioner on March 12 seeking protection for her family. She claimed she sent that video after Jarkiholi filed a counter-complaint against her. The woman further said she would appear before the police once they ensured her parents’ safety.
However, SIT chief Soumendu Mukherjee claimed they had received no such video – even though it was available in the public domain.
Former deputy commissioner ND Mullah told The Federal the police had no option but to file an FIR now. “Since the complaint has come from the victim through her lawyer, the police will have to file a case,” Mullah said, adding the police could find reasons to delay filing the FIR by seeking the opinion of the public prosecutor.
He further said the police could decide not to pursue the case if the woman does not appear before them. “They may find it difficult, but there is every reason to file a complaint.”
After filing the complaint, advocate KN Jagadeesh Kumar told reporters that since Jarkiholi was an influential person, the woman was scared to appear in public. “She will appear before the police soon after she gets proper security. Eight lawyers are giving legal aid to the victim,” he said.
Earlier this week the SIT confiscated the BJP leader’s mobile phone and sent it to the forensic science laboratory to retrieve data. Officials also questioned the minister twice in the past week.
The police have already taken action on Jarkiholi’s counter-complaint stating that the original video, which was posted by an activist, was fake and that some people had conspired to defame him. The police filed an FIR and arrested four people who allegedly edited and uploaded the video on social media platforms.
The Karnataka assembly was adjourned sine die on Wednesday for the third consecutive day after ruckus over the scandal. The Congress demanded a court-monitored investigation into the case.