Karnataka govt turns down CBI probe; H D Revanna remanded to judicial custody

Bengaluru, May 8 (PTI) Karnataka Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara on Wednesday ruled out a CBI probe into the sexual abuse case against the JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna, who is the NDA candidate from Hassan.

This was after JD(S) second-in-command H D Kumaraswamy mounted an attack on the government expressing doubts over the manner the investigation was carried out. Alliance partners JD(S) and BJP demanded that the case, which is being investigated by the state government-constituted SIT, be handed over to the CBI.

Kumaraswamy intensified his attack on the government even as his elder brother and Holenarasipura MLA H D Revanna, who is facing charges of kidnapping a woman, was remanded to judicial custody till May 14 by a Magisterial court here on Wednesday.

Revanna, son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, was produced before the court after the completion of four days’ police custody.

Also, his bail petition before a sessions court has been posted for Thursday.

Revanna was arrested in the alleged case of kidnapping a woman, based on a complaint by her son, who alleged that the MLA’s son and MP Prajwal Revanna had sexually assaulted her. The woman was subsequently rescued, according to police.

The alleged sexual abuse of several women by Prajwal has raised a political storm with the ruling Congress and BJP-JD(S) engaged in a slugfest.

Alleged explicit videos involving Prajwal started making the rounds ahead of the first phase of Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka on April 26.

Prajwal reportedly left the country on April 27, a day after the polls. He has skipped summons issued by the SIT to appear before it. A blue corner notice has been issued by the Interpol to bring him back.

JD(S) party workers staged a demonstration in some parts of Karnataka including Mandya, Ramanagara and Mysuru accusing D K Shivakumar and other Congress leaders of hatching conspiracy against the JD(S). They raised slogans, and burnt the effigy of the two Congress leaders.

Kumaraswamy sought to know why the police did not act on a complaint against a man, who allegedly said that explicit videos of Prajwal and several women will be released.

“It is now in public domain that Naveen Gowda on April 21 night at 8 pm announced releasing explicit videos on WhatsApp ‘in the next few seconds’. I want to ask Home Minister Dr G Parameshwara. What is the role of SIT (Special Investigation Team)?” he asked while talking to reporters here.

Kumaraswamy also sought to know why the kidnapped woman has not been produced before a court yet.

He said: “Till now the SIT has not arrested Naveen Gowda. They have not even issued summons to him. Why are you suppressing all these things? It’s been a fortnight since the videos were made public. Who is he and whom is he seen in photographs?”

On his nephew’s whereabouts, Kumaraswamy said, “If you ask me, what can I answer you? I don’t know. When I am not in his contact…. I am telling you very clearly. I don’t have any relations with him. He has his own dealings.”

Parameshwara turned down the former chief minister’s demand for a CBI probe.

“Kumaraswamy had raised over 100 questions. I cannot answer all of them. He had asked for the CBI probe, which we will not do. The SIT is competent. I have said that we will get a proper investigation done,” the Home Minister said.

According to Parameshwara, three people have been arrested so far in a case related to the kidnapping of the woman, including Revanna and his aide Satish Babanna.

He declined to share the details of the third person saying that disclosing the name would affect the investigation.

To a question whether there will be any investigation against those who leaked the videos, Parameshwara said, “We do not wish to hide anything. The probe will also cover the circulation of the pen drive.”

“Kumaraswamy has alleged that policemen have distributed it. Which police distributed it and where, are the aspects we have to look into. The SIT will decide whether to issue any notice to Kumaraswamy on his charges,” Parameshwara explained.

On not arresting Karthik Gowda, driver of Prajwal Revanna, who is believed to have had the pen drive containing explicit videos allegedly involving the MP and several women, Parameshwara said there should be clear evidence to arrest someone.

In view of the JD(S) aggressive posture, the ruling Congress alleged that attempts were on to cover up the scandal by diverting public attention towards the release of explicit videos and those behind it.

“Several issues are being discussed in the state, but looking at the discussions I feel that somewhere we have forgotten the background. According to my knowledge the discussion that is going on is about the world’s biggest sexual abuse case. I feel its importance has been forgotten,” said minister Krishna Byre Gowda.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister D K Shivakumar accused Kumaraswamy of being behind the circulation of explicit videos allegedly linked to Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna, and called him “king of blackmailing” and the “lead, director, and producer of the story.”

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