Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigns following allegations of sexual harassment

Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigns following allegations of sexual harassment

(Eds: updating with more details)
Bengaluru, Mar 3 (PTI) Karnataka Water Resources
Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi on Wednesday resigned from the state
cabinet, following allegations of sexual harassment against
him.
His resignation came after protests and criticism by
opposition parties and several sections of society, causing a
huge embarrassment to the government and the ruling BJP.
In his resignation letter to Chief Minister B S
Yediyurappa just ahead of the cabinet meeting this afternoon,
Jarkiholi claimed he was innocent.
“The allegations against me are far from the truth. It has
to be investigated at the earliest.
Though I”m confident about my innocence, taking moral
responsibility, I”m resigning from my position as the cabinet
Minister. I request you to accept it,” he said.
Social activist Dinesh Kallahalli had on Tuesday lodged a
police complaint against Ramesh, alleging he had sexually
harassed a ”job aspirant” and threatened the woman and her
family with dire consequences.
Dubbing it as ”sex for job” scandal, purported video
clips showing Ramesh Jarkiholi getting intimate with an
unidentified woman was widely aired by Kannada news channels.
According to sources, Jarkiholi tendered his resignation
on the directions from the party high command.
BJP National General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka
Arun Singh and party national General Secretary (organisation)
B L Santosh reportedly held discussions on the charges and CD
this morning and communicated the party”s decision to the
state leadership, keeping in mind the assembly polls in five
states and also bypolls and panchayat elections in Karnataka.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa then called party MLA
from Arabhavi, Balachandra Jarkiholi, who is Ramesh”s brother
and informed him of the decision.
Reacting to the charges, Ramesh on Tuesday night had said
he was shocked and the videos were “100 per cent fake.”
He had also sought a probe, while asserting that he would
quit as Minister and also from politics if proven wrong.
Balachandra Jarkiholi had said after meeting the CM in
the morning that there was no need for Ramesh to resign if he
has not done anything wrong and a thorough probe has to be
done, either by the CBI or CID, to find out the truth behind
the allegation and the CD, also those behind it.
Terming it as an attempt to defame the family as they
have made it big in politics, Balachandra also threatened to
file a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against those who released
the “fake CD”.
According to sources, Yediyurappa reportedly assured
Jarkiholi that he would be inducted to the Cabinet again if he
was cleared of the charges levelled against him.
There were also reports he was promised that Balachandra
Jarkiholi would be inducted in his place.
However, clarifying that there were no conditions put
before the resignation was tendered, Balachandra Jarkiholi
said the CM sent the resignation to the Governor, a probe
would take place and Ramesh would come out innocent.
Asked if he had been assured of a ministerial berth, he
said, “no nothing like that… let”s see later.
The allegation, just ahead of the Budget session of the
state legislature starting from Thursday has come as a huge
embarrassment to the B S Yediyurappa-led BJP government.
The opposition Congress and JD(S) also demanded his
immediate resignation and both parties staged demonstrations
on Wednesday at various places, including Belagavi, which is
Jarkiholi”s home district.
Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah had earlier in the
day said, “If that party (BJP) has an iota of shame and if
they respect human values, they have to seek his resignation
immediately.
This is national news. If the government has shame, it
has to take his resignation and FIR has to be registered
immediately.”
Police had said necessary action would be taken after
obtaining more details and that they would also question the
woman.
Asked about the probe, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai
said on Wednesday that police, based on whatever complaint has
been given, are conducting inquiries as per law.
Meanwhile, Police said they have summoned Kallahalli to
appear before them on Thursday as part of the investigation.
The activist has been asked to depose before the
Investigating Officer at the Cubbon Park police station, where
he had lodged the complaint against the former minister.
Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said it was not
right to comment on the issue without knowing the facts, and
the charge may have been levelled out of malice.
According to reports, the Chief Minister noted during the
cabinet meet that the allegation against Jarkiholi has caused
huge embarrassment to the government.
But Bommai told reporters during the briefing that the
issue did not come up for discussion as Jarkiholi had
resigned.
Asked whether any decision had been taken on the inquiry,
he said, “none has been taken at the government level. A
complaint has been registered and police are probing it.”
Ramesh Jarkiholi, a MLA from Gokak, who was earlier with
Congress, was among the chief architects in causing the
downfall of the Congress-JD(S) coalition government that
eventually paved the way for the BJP to come to power.
As the news about the resignation spread, his supporters
swarmed Basaveshwara circle in Gokak and staged demonstrations
by burning tyres and raising slogans, holding aloft his
photograph.
According to sources, shops and establishments were
forcefully shut in parts of the town as a mark of protest.
One man doused petrol on his body during the protest and
tried to set himself ablaze, but policemen prevented him
from doing so and took him into custody.
Kallahalli told PTI that some people were following him
and he apprehended a threat to his life.
He said he has lodged a complaint in this regard with the
Kanakapura Rural police in Ramanagara district. PTI KSU GMS
APR
ADMINISTRATOR
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Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Bollyinsidestaff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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