Sex scandal: Ramesh Jarkiholi quits as minister on party nudge | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Karnataka water resources minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned on Wednesday, citing “moral grounds”, a day after a CD emerged purportedly showing him seeking sexual favours from a woman in return for a government job. The Belagavi strongman maintained that he was innocent and sought a probe at the earliest.
In his resignation letter, which has been accepted by chief minister BS Yediyurappa and governor Vajubhai Vala, he said, “There should be an investigation into this. Even though I am innocent, I decided to take moral responsibility and resign from my post in the cabinet to save the party from embarrassment.”

The resignation, in a matter of hours, came amid pressure from the BJP leadership at the centre and the state, with elections in four states due in a month and the party in the thick of campaigning in the south and east.
Brother seeks CBI probe into incident
BJP national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Arun Singh, is said to have communicated the party’s decision to Yediyurappa, paving the way for the minister’s quick exit.
Party insiders said Jarkiholi was opposed to quitting and agreed to resign only after getting an oral assurance from Yediyurappa that the berth would be given to his sibling, Balachandra Jarkiholi, a BJP MLA and chairman of Karnataka Milk federation, or would wait to be reinstated once proven innocent.
Police are yet to register an FIR in the case, as efforts to identify or trace the woman allegedly featuring in the clips failed. Social activist Dinesh Kallahalli, who made the police complaint, has been given police protection after he reported suspicious movement at his house in Kallahalli village in Kanakapura.
In his plaint, Kallahalli claimed that he was authorised by the woman’s family to take up the case after she was threatened with dire consequences when she told the minister about the CD. He alleged that the minister had sought sexual favours in return for helping her shoot a film on dams, and offered her a job in KPTCL. As clips went viral and were splashed by news channels, opposition parties held protests demanding his resignation.
Earlier in the day, Balachandra met the chief minister and sought a CBI inquiry into the incident, while insisting that his brother should not be allowed to resign. Calling it political vendetta, he threatened to file a Rs 100 crore defamation case against Kalhalli and the woman.
However, with the BJP leadership weighing in and the budget session beginning on Friday, the CM had little choice. Bypolls to three assembly seats and the Belagavi Lok Sabha seat are also due in the state.
Jarkiholi, 60, who was earlier with Congress, is among four brothers who are active in state politics from Belagavi district and is known to nurse an ambition to become deputy chief minister. He was among the chief architects of the downfall of the previous Congress-JD(S) coalition government in 2019. He had led the team of 17 breakaway MLAs and was rewarded with a plum ministry by Yediyurappa. While opposition parties have gone on the offensive against him since, many BJP old-timers are also reportedly unhappy with his style of functioning.
He also has a running feud with state Congress chief DK Shivakumar, after the latter backed firsttime MLA Laxmi R Hebbalkar in the turf war in Belagavi.


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Sagar Biswas

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