Supporters of tainted K’taka minister pelt stones on busses


Belagavi (Karantaka), March 3 : Soon after the news of Karnataka Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi stepping down over the sex CD scandal became public, his supporters went berserk across the Gokak town in Belagavi district — home to the Jarkiholi family — on Wednesday.

A large number of his supporters took out a protest march in Gokak, forcibly shut business establishments and colleges besides pelting stones on several buses. One of Jarkiholi’s supporters even attempted self-immolation by dousing himself with kerosene. But the police intervened and prevented him from taking the extreme step.

Another set of supporters poured milk on cutouts of Jarkiholi in the key junctions of the town to send out a message that their leader may be down, but not out.

Jarkiholi, a powerful minister in Karnataka, was among the 17 legislators who had defected from the Congress and JD(S) in 2019 and joined the BJP, bringing down the Congress-JD(S) coalition government that was formed in 2018.

He was forced to resign on Wednesday after a CD containing sexually explicit content was released by a Kanakapura-based RTI activist, Dinesh Kallahalli, to different news channels on Tuesday evening after formally lodging a complaint with the Cubbon Park police in Bengaluru.

The alleged CD contained clips showing Jarkiholi getting intimate with a woman. It went viral after being aired on Kannada news channels on Tuesday.

After filing a complaint with the police, Kallahalli had alleged that Jarkiholi had demanded sexual favours from the woman in exchange of getting her the permission to shoot documentaries on dams in Karnataka using drone cameras, besides luring her with a government job offer.

Claiming innocence, both Jarkiholi and his brother and BJP leader Balachandra Jarkiholi dubbed the CD as ‘fake and a political conspiracy’ against their family.