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Ramesh Jarkiholi isn’t first. Karnataka’s politicians have habit of landing in sex scandals

Over a dozen of Karnataka’s politicians, cutting across party lines, have been embroiled in some form of a sex scandal in the last two decades.  

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Bengaluru: The now former Karnataka minister Ramesh Jarkiholi may have left the state’s BJP government in an embarrassing situation after allegedly being caught in a sex scandal, but he is no exception in the southern state. 

Over a dozen of the state’s politicians, cutting across party lines, have been embroiled in some form of a sex scandal in the last two decades.  

From being taped in compromising positions, watching pornography in the assembly to being accused of sexual harassment, Karnataka’s politicians have time and again been caught, in some cases literally, with their pants down.  

ThePrint lists a few of the cases that have rocked the state. 

Ramesh Jarkiholi (BJP), 2021

Jarkiholi was forced to resign as the water resources minister Wednesday after the emergence of a CD led to allegations that he sought sexual favours from a woman.  

A social activist had submitted a complaint to the Bengaluru Police claiming that Jarkiholi had promised the woman a job with the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL). 

The CD allegedly shows the victim with Jarkiholi, though the police say they are yet to investigate the veracity of the CD.

Jarkiholi, a long-term Congress loyalist, had been among the party MLAs who defected to the BJP and were instrumental in toppling the JD(S)-Congress coalition government in 2019. 

On Sunday, the complainant in the CD case said he would withdraw his complaint. The activist’s lawyer attributed the decision to “technical problems”.

Prakash Rathod (Congress), 2021

On 29 January, the Congress’ Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) was allegedly caught watching pornographic content on his mobile phone during the legislative council proceedings. 

Rathod denied the charge, claiming he was scrolling through his phone for some matter relating to a question raised during Question Hour. He further claimed his mobile phone storage was full and he was clearing messages on it.

“I was plainly looking for information and deleting unwanted data on my phone as the storage was full,” Rathod had told ThePrint on 30 January. “It is nothing like what the TV channels claim it to be.” 


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Arvind Limbavali (BJP), 2019

On 22 July 2019, the state assembly was rocked by a sex tape that purportedly showed Limbavali, the BJP MLA from Mahadevapura, in an intimate position with another man. 

Limbavali, however, wept in the assembly claiming he had “become a victim of a fake sex video”. He had also appealed to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa to investigate the case, saying it was traumatising for him and his family.

“Nobody can understand what my children are facing due to this fake video,” he had then said.

Five months later, the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) submitted a report to the Bengaluru police stating that the purported sextape was fake.

Limbavali is Karnataka’s forest minister.

H.Y. Meti (Congress), 2016 

Former excise minister Meti was allegedly caught on camera in a compromising position with a woman. The tape surfaced in December 2016, forcing then chief minister Siddaramaiah to seek Meti’s resignation. 

The case was also handed over to the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) after the woman in the video lodged a police complaint accusing Meti of rape, abduction and a threat to her life.

A therapist in the state Ayush Department, the woman had alleged that Meti sought sexual favours from her in return for a transfer that she had requested.

After five months, however, the woman did a volte-face and withdrew her charges, prompting the CID to give Meti a clean chit. The police also claimed that the visuals in the sextape were too blurred. 


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Tanveer Sair (Congress), 2016 

Sait was the Karnataka primary and higher education minister when in 2016, he was allegedly caught by cameras of a local television crew viewing what appeared to be photos of semi-clad women on his phone. 

The incident took place on 10 November 2016 when Sait was attending a state-sponsored event to mark Tipu Jayanti.

Sait immediately denied the charges and said that he was scrolling through pictures of Tipu Jayanti across the state.

Four months later, the minister got a clean chit from the CID. The police report said Sait was merely viewing a WhatsApp message sent by someone, which had pictures of the then just elected US President Donald Trump’s wife, Melania Trump.

Sait later filed a defamation case against the journalists who made the allegations.

S.A. Ramdas (BJP), 2014 

The Valentine’s Day (14 February) of 2014 didn’t go well for former medical education minister and BJP leader S.A. Ramdas. 

Police had landed up at his door after a woman lodged a complaint accusing him of sexually exploiting her. 

The woman claimed Ramdas had secretly married her and threatened to expose their relationship through audio and video evidence. A widow with two children, the woman alleged she had been  close to Ramdas for five years.

That, however, was just the beginning of the drama in the case. 

Ramdas, a bachelor, was apparently so upset with the allegation that he reportedly attempted to end his life. He was, however, rushed to hospital in an unconscious state and survived. 

The episode took another turn when four years later in 2018, the woman landed up outside his home in Mysuru and attempted to kill herself. She tried to strangle herself with a shawl but was stopped by police personnel present there.


Also read: Hacked, phished, bamboozled — how cyber criminals conned 4 former Karnataka DGPs


Raghupathi Bhat (BJP), 2013

Raghupathi Bhat, a former BJP legislator from Karnataka’s coastal district of Udupi, is another of the state’s politicians to allegedly feature in a sex CD. 

Local television channels had in February 2013 aired clips of a sex romp in a Mumbai lodge allegedly involving the leader. The embarrassed leader announced that he would not contest the assembly elections that were held the following month.

Bhat, a two-time MLA when the controversy erupted, denied that it was him in the footage and said the entire saga was an “ugly attempt” to tarnish his image in the run-up to the elections. 

He claimed the CD was the handiwork of his political adversaries.

Some five years before the CD, the MLA was caught in another row when his wife Padmapriya went missing in 2008. She was found hanging in a flat in Delhi’s Dwarka under mysterious circumstances.

Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil, Krishna Palemar (BJP), 2012

BJP leaders Laxman Savadi, C.C. Patil and Krishna Palemar resigned as ministers of the then Yediyurappa government after they were allegedly caught watching pornography in the assembly while the session was in progress. 

The incident took place on 8 February 2012. Television channels showed Savadi allegedly watching a porn clip on his phone while Patil and Palemar, sitting beside him, allegedly took a peak.

Savadi rubbished the allegations saying he was actually watching a clip of a woman being raped by four men to know more about the incident.

“It was for educational purposes. I do not have the cheap mentality to see pornographic visuals,” he claimed. “The assembly was about to discuss a rave party case, so we were only trying to understand the situation to debate in the House.”

In less than a month, on 30 March, the Karnataka Legislature Committee, which probed the case, indicted Savadi and gave a clean chit to Patil and Palemar.

The panel said that prima facie there was evidence to show Savadi had watched sleazy clippings on a mobile that did not belong to him but added that it was “unintentional”.

Two of the three have since been politically rehabilitated. Savadi is currently Karnataka’s deputy chief minister while CC Patil is the small scale industries and the information broadcasting minister.


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Hartal Halappa (BJP), 2009

Another close aide of Yediyurappa, former food and civil supplies minister Hartal Halappa was mired in a controversy when a local Kannada daily published an article alleging he sexually assaulted his friend’s wife.

According to the article, Venkatesh Murthy, his financier-friend recorded visuals of Halappa allegedly attempting to rape his wife when the latter stayed at their residence on 29 November 2009.

Murthy submitted the CD evidence six months after the incident but police said he refused to part with the original memory card.

Yediyurappa was then chief minister and asked Halappa to resign to save the government from further embarrassment.

In August 2017, however, Halappa was acquitted of the rape charges by a Shivamogga court, which cited a lack of evidence and inconsistency in the complainant’s statements.

M.P. Renukacharya (BJP), 2007

Days before the 2007 by-election in Mangaluru’s Ullal constituency, a sex scandal allegedly involving Honnali MLA Renukacharya rocked the then BJP-JD(S) coalition government.

A hospital nurse accused the minister of sexual harassment. She released photographs of the two kissing each other and claimed she was being driven to suicide as the minister was forcing her to marry him.

She claimed that she had documents and videos to prove her relationship but Renukacharya cried foul saying the pictures were morphed to defame him.

Although Renukacharya threatened to release another CD of his own to counter her charges, the damage had already been done. Three years later, the nurse withdrew the case.

He too has made a comeback and is now political secretary to CM Yediyurappa.

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)


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3 COMMENTS

  1. So long as these people keep coming from the feudal background and mindset these thing will happen where the alpha male culture prevails.

  2. You have to do more research. Earliest sex scandal of Karnataka politicians was of RD Kittur, a minister in late 1960s and early 1970s. In those pre-technology days, he was caught with a school teacher and had to resign.

    Have no sympathy for the likes of Ramesh Jarkiholi. He was trapped because he was lecherous and slept with whosoever woman was willing. If he had lead the life of a responsible householder, he would not have been caught.

  3. I’d say BJP Yeddy team wins hands down with Congress Siddu Team trying to catch up. I suppose we could save time by just assigning people at Tihar ministerial positions, why go for an election.

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