Two days ahead of the budget session in Karnataka Assembly, BJP Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi has landed in trouble over allegations of sexual assault and cheating against him.
Activist Dinesh Kallhalli on March 2 complained to Bengaluru Commissioner of Police Kamal Pant, alleging that Jarkiholi sexually assaulted a woman and sought sexual favours from her on the pretext of giving a government job.
The activist spoke to the media on the victim’s behalf and said he submitted audio and video files to the police to corroborate his allegations and demanded a probe. “The minister had given a life threat to the woman after knowing she had a video of the alleged incident,” the activist said.
Jarkiholi, who serves as the Water Resource Minister in the current cabinet, is one of the powerful leaders in Belagavi and owns sugar businesses in the region.
Soon after the news went viral, locals alleged that there was a power cut for three hours in his home constituency on Gokak. However, the power was later restored, local media reported.
Opposition parties are mounting pressure on Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa to sack Jarkiholi immediately. JD(S) and Congress have called a protest march in Belagavi on Wednesday (March 3).
Insiders in the BJP said the minister will most likely be asked to resign so that the party avoids embarrassment, keeping in mind the state elections in the next two months.
Reacting to the development, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday said he will hold an inquiry and submit a report to the party high command.
“There will be an appropriate investigation into this. The party leaders believe those representing the party should be very ‘clean’. I will speak to the chief minister about the incident,” Joshi told reporters. “If the incident is found to be true, one should resign and there is no second thought about that,” he added.