Saturday, 28 May, 2022
HomePoliticsKarnataka's Ramesh Jarkiholi rode to power on business & politics before 'sex...

Karnataka’s Ramesh Jarkiholi rode to power on business & politics before ‘sex CD’ felled him

Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned as minister Wednesday after the emergence of a CD led to allegations that he had demanded sexual favours from a woman on the promise of a job.

Text Size:

Bengaluru: The first time Ramesh Jarkiholi, a sugar baron from Karnataka’s Belagavi, contested assembly elections in 1985, he lost to a Janata Party candidate by around 4,000 votes. With the defeat, Jarkiholi — then known as Ramappa — made a resolve in his mind.

“He vowed that he would not enter politics until he was ready,” childhood friend and close associate Munna Bhagwan told ThePrint.

It would be 14 years before Jarkiholi tested his luck at the hustings again. In 1999, he made a second bid for the assembly seat of Gokak in north Karnataka, again as a Congress candidate, and won. He had a 75,000 lead over his nearest rival.

“He has always been this stubborn, ambitious, strong-willed leader who is up to any challenge,” said Bhagwan.

Jarkiholi, one of the most powerful politicians from north Karnataka, is believed to have been among the key architects of the rebellion within the Congress that brought down the party’s coalition government with the Janata Dal (Secular) in 2019. He went on to join the BJP and become a minister in the B.S. Yediyurappa government.

Two years later, Wednesday, he handed in his resignation as minister after the emergence of a CD led to allegations that he had demanded sexual favours from a woman on the promise of a job opportunity. An activist, Dinesh Kalahalli, has filed a police complaint against Jarkiholi in the matter.

The six-time MLA has denied the allegations in his resignation letter, a copy of which was accessed by ThePrint.

“The allegation that has been made against me is false. There needs to be an inquiry conducted in this matter. I am confident that I will emerge blemish-less after the inquiry,” he wrote. “I take moral responsibility and submit my resignation as a minister.” 

Earlier on Wednesday, police sources had told ThePrint that they are trying to verify the veracity of the CD.

With the verdict awaited, Jarkiholi has pegged the future of his political ambitions on the outcome of the matter. Just after tendering his resignation, he told the media “he will resign from my MLA post and quit politics if the allegations are proven”. If not, he is believed to have told the CM, he should be reinstated immediately.

Also Read: Now, minister Ramesh Jarkiholi ‘caught in sex CD scandal’ in trouble for Karnataka’s BJP govt

‘Sahukars of Gokak’

Members of the Jarkiholi family, which belongs to Gokak in Karnataka’s Belagavi, are popularly called “sahukars” or businessmen of Gokak among local residents.

Born on 1 May 1960, Ramesh Jarkiholi is one of five brothers. The others are Satish, Balachandra, Bhimashi and Lakhan. Their father Laxmanrao Jarkiholi was an excise contractor who later expanded his business and went on to own several petrol pumps in the region.

The family subsequently ventured into the sugar business, tapping the claim to fame of a region known as the “sugar bowl of the state”. Now famous as “sugar barons of Gokak”, the family owns five major sugar mills.  

The Jarkiholis are known to wield much power in the state’s sugar bowl, which accounts for 18 of Karnataka’s 224 assembly seats.

They are wealthy and are known to splurge on family events. At his son Santosh’s wedding in 2016, Ramesh Jarkiholi set up a two-acre mandap shaped like Kolhapur’s Mahalakshmi temple at Gokak. The entire town was decorated, and around 1.5 lakh guests were invited to the wedding. A helipad was built on the outskirts of the town for the arrival of VIPs on special charter flights.

In 2018, the Jarkiholis courted controversy as the family was reportedly among those accused of not paying dues owed to sugarcane farmers since 2017.

Every brother is a politician

All of the five Jarkiholi brothers, at some time or another, have dabbled in politics. However, as of now, only Ramesh, Satish and Balachandra are MLAs. 

Ramesh, who dropped out of college after completing the first year of BA from Karnataka University Dharwad in 1981, is the eldest. 

As things stand, while Balachandra and Ramesh are with the BJP, Lakhan and Sathish are with the Congress. Bhimashi contested the 2013 assembly election against Ramesh from Gokak, as an Independent, but lost.

“There is an internal conversation within the family that, at any point of time, at least one brother will be a minister with the party that is in power,” said a family friend.

Another close associate who has been working for the Jarkiholis said the brothers have known what power is as they come from a “very influential family”. Even as their sugar mills and liquor business continue, the associate said, the three politician brothers “know how to win hearts and votes”.

Also Read: Sex scandal has Karnataka BJP & Congress on edge ahead of bypolls

With the Congress

Ramesh started his political career with the Congress and, according to friend Munna Bhagwan, late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had campaigned for him in the 1985 assembly elections. 

He stayed with the party until 2019, when he shifted to the BJP. In the 2019 by-elections, he contested against his own brother Lakhan and won.

Ramesh Jarkiholi’s final days in the Congress were tense. In September 2018, the Jarkiholi brothers declared an all-out war against Belagavi Rural MLA Lakshmi Hebbalkar, whom they accused of “meddling” in the affairs of their stronghold, Belagavi. At the time, Ramesh had threatened to quit the party.  

Then, in December that year, he again threatened to leave the Congress after he was dropped as minister and Satish appointed as one. He said at the time that he had the support of more than 26 “disgruntled Congress MLAs” who were ready to jump ship with him to the BJP . 

Speaking to ThePrint, Congress sources said one of the major reasons Ramesh led the rebellion to topple the Congress-JD(S) coalition government was due to his constant stand-off with Congress state president D.K. Shivakumar.

Strains have also emerged in Ramesh’s relationship with Satish.

Bhagwan told ThePrint that “such is the love between brothers that when Ramesh was in the Congress, he would say that, one day Satish will become the CM of Karnataka”.

Years later, a Congress source said, Satish sees his brother’s jump to the BJP as “backstabbing”. 

‘He will have to pay’

According to police sources, the CD at the centre of the controversy surrounding Ramesh Jarkiholi was recorded in 2017, “as seen in the time stamp”. At the time, Ramesh was Small Scale Industries Minister in the Siddaramaiah government.

Social activist Dinesh Kalhalli, the complainant in the case, said Jarkiholi will have to “pay for his mistakes”. “He is a powerful politician, but he cannot escape when he is on the wrong side of law,” he told ThePrint over the phone.

Also Read: Why BJP can no longer ignore this MLA’s outbursts against Karnataka CM Yediyurappa


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. The politicians whether bjp or congress love to zip their underpants, will do immoral acts but we the stupid people of this country elect such immoral bankrupt politicians. Whether Abhishek manusinghvi or Ramesh J or even a certain Ram Madhav all love women.

  2. ಮಂತ್ರಿಗಳು ಮಾಡಿದ್ದು ತಪ್ಪೇ, ಅದು ಸರ್ಕಾರಿ ಭವನ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ದ ಕೆಲಸಕ್ಕೆ ಮಾತ್ರ – ಅನೇಕ ನಾಯಕರು ಬಹಳಷ್ಟು ಹೇಳಿಕೆ ಕೊಡುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ ” ಇದರಲ್ಲಿ ಕೆಲವರ ಕವಾಡ ಇದೆ – ಷಡ್ಯಂತ್ರ ಇದೆ ಅದು ಇದು ಅಂತ…ಮತ್ತು ನಾನು ಅವರ ಪರವಾಗಿ ಇದ್ದೇನೆ ಅಂತ .. ಏಕೆ ನೀವು ಅಂತಾ
    ಕೆಲಸಾನೇ ಮಾಡ್ತೀರಾ.. ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕುಟುಂಬದ ಚಿಂತೆ ಇಲ್ಲವೇ.. ಅದೇ ತರ ನಿಮ್ಮ ಕುಟುಂಬ ಮಾಡಿದ್ರೆ ಸುಮ್ಮನೆ ಇರ್ತೀರ .. ಹೆಣ್ಣು ಹೆಂಡತಿ ಅಂದರೆ ಗೌರವ ಇಲ್ಲವೇ.. ಜನ ಪ್ರತಿನಿಧಿಗಳು ನೀವೆಲ್ಲಾ.. ಇದೇನಾ ಉದಾಹರಣೆ ಸಂದೇಶ ಕೊಡೋದು ಪ್ರಜೆಗಳಿಗೆ, ನೋಡಿ ಕಾನೂನು ಎಲ್ಲಾರಿಗೂ ಒಂದೇ ಈ ತಪ್ಪು ಮಾಡಿರುವವರನ್ನು ಸಪೋರ್ಟ್ ಮಾಡುವವರನ್ನು ತಪ್ಪಿತಸ್ಥರೆಂದು ಪರಿಗಣಿಸಿ ಸೂಕ್ತ ಕ್ರಮ ತೆಗೆದುಕೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಮತ್ತು ಇಂತಹ ಅಸಹ್ಯ ಕೆಲಸವನ್ನು ಸಮಾಜಕ್ಕೆ ಬಹಿರಂಗ ಪಡಿಸಿ ಇಂತಹ ಕೃತ್ಯಗಳು ಮರುಕಳಿಸದಂತೆ ಮಾಡಿದ ವ್ಯಕ್ತಿಗಳು – ಪತ್ರಿಕಾ ಮತ್ತು ದೃಶ್ಯ ಮಾದ್ಯಮಗಳಂತೆಯೇ ಕಾರ್ಯ ಮಾಡಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಅವರೇನೂ CD ತೋರಿಸಿ ಹಣ ವಸೂಲಿಗೆ ಪ್ರಯತ್ನ ಪಟ್ಟಿದ್ದರೆ ಅವರನ್ನೂ ಹನಿ ಟ್ರಾಪ್ಪಿಂಗ್ ಪ್ರಕರಣದಲ್ಲಿ ಕ್ರಮ ತೆಗೆದು ಕೊಳ್ಳಬಹುದಿತ್ತು.. ಆದರೇ ಅವರು ಸಮಾಜಕ್ಕೆ ವಿಷಯ ತಿಳಿಸಿ ಮಿಕ್ಕೆಲ್ಲಾ ಹಾದಿ ತಪ್ಪುವ ನಾಯಕರುಗಳಿಗೆ ಪಾಠ ಕಲಿಸಿದ್ದಾರೆ.. ಅದಕ್ಕಾಗಿ ಅವರನ್ನು ಪ್ರಶಂಸಿಸ ಬೇಕೇ ಹೊರತು ತೊಂದರೆ ಕೊಡಬಾರದು (ವರದಿಗಾರರ ವಾಕ್ ಸ್ವಾತಂತ್ರ ಕ್ಷೀಣಿಸಬಾರದು )

  3. Rohini Swamy the author of the article says “…….before sex CD felled him”. Will this sex CD spoil the career of this Karnataka politician ? Did similar auch CDs which came out in the open on Abhishek Manu Singhvi, N D Tiwari and many other politicians ended their political careers ? Last heard that Abhishek Manu Singhvi is still congress’s spokie and a important man in congress scheme of things, often defending the undefensible. So why does the writer think that it will be anything different for this Karnataka politician ?

  4. Not just due to after business and politics, but Ramesh Jarkiholi had got so enamoured with the chair of a minister, both he and his brother were ministers in the Congress Govt of Siddaramiah, and then he was a minister in the Govt of Kumaraswamy and was replaced by his brother.

    However, the two brothers had tasted the ministership for five years both wanted to be a minister, but the Congress party with the need to share berths with JDU didn’t have the same luxury as it had earlier.

    The guy immediately fell for Amit Shah, genuflected, resigned as MLA, got reelected to become a minister in the BJP Govt.

    He had to resign from the hard-won position not for what he was caught but for moral reasons!

    Morality and these guys when one sees what he has done over the last four years!

Comments are closed.

Most Popular