Siddaramaiah demands rape case against ex-minister, court- monitored probe

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Bengaluru, Mar 22 (PTI) Former chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday demanded in the Karnataka assembly registration of a rape case against BJP MLA Ramesh Jarkiholi, who quit as minister recently after allegations that he sexually harassed a woman 'job aspirant', and a court monitored probe.

The Leader of the Opposition claimed the woman in a video message had said she was 'utilised' and thus it would amount to rape.

'I demand a rape case under section 376 of the IPC be registered against Ramesh Jarkiholi otherwise we can't do justice to the woman,' Siddaramaiah said.

Jarkiholi, BJP MLA from Gokak, resigned as minister on March 3, after a social activist lodged a police complaint alleging sexual harassment to a 'job aspirant' and video clips purportedly showing their intimate moments surfaced.

Rejecting the charges, the BJP leader has claimed innocence, saying the videos were fake and vowed to send the 'conspirators' behind bars.

Social activist Dinesh Kallahalli had withdrawn the police complaint against Jarkiholi.

Raising the issue in the House, Siddaramaiah said 'When the victim says she was utilised, it means there was no consent for the act. An act without consent is rape.' He said the police officers who failed to register a case should also face action.

Siddaramaiah charged Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai with writing a note to police based on a statement by Jarkiholi to form a SIT on March 9 without any term of condition though the former minister lodged a police complaint only on March 13 that he was blackmailed using a fake CD.

Intervening, veteran Congress member K R Ramesh Kumar said the complaint of such serious nature lodged by a former MLA on behalf of Jarkiholi should not have been accepted by the police.

Contending that the complaint lodged by Jarkiholi was untenable, Siddaramaiah demanded protection for the woman and a Karnataka High Court monitored investigation by an independent agency and not the SIT.

He also sought the resignation of six Ministers who obtained temporary court injunction against publishing of any defamatory materials against them in the media, including news channels and the newspapers.

'The ministers are under fear which is against their oath of discharging their duties without any fear or favour at the time of assuming office,' Siddaramaiah said. PTI GMS VS VS