Karnataka Congress President D K Shivakumar on Saturday said he has never met the woman in the purported sex video allegedly involving former Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi, as the row took a new twist with the surfacing of an audio clip in which she can be heard taking his name.
This even as the woman, who believed to be in the video, has released a fourth video statement seeking protection to her family members and stated that she was feeling tortured to the level that she wanted to kill herself. Hours after the city police registered an FIR against Jarkiholi for sexual abuse based on the woman’s complaint on Friday, a purported unauthenticated recording of a telephonic conversation between her and family members had surfaced in which she can be heard talking about going to Shivakumar’s house to meet him.
The audio clip had triggered sharp reactions, with Karnataka BJP attacking Shivakumar and demanding that the Congress should seek his resignation as the party’s state unit chief. “We are in public life, you (media) work as a bridge between people, we politicians too try to help people who are in distress. That woman has said that she has tried to meet me,” Shivakumar told reporters.
Noting that daily at least 10 people meet him with personal problems and seeking help, he said, so in that way she might have come, but has never met him. “If she comes even today, I will know details and verify things,” he said.
The conversation in the purported audio clip is said to have taken place on the night (March 2) the sex CD was leaked to television channels. In the conversation with her family members including brother and mother, Shivakumar’s name has been referred a couple of times as the woman tries to repeatedly convince family members that she was safe and the video and audio clips aired on television were fake, morphed and voice modulated.
Observing that it was true that he was “tracking” Jarkiholi when some senior Congress leaders were defecting from the party (during 2019 political turmoil leading to collapse of Congress-JD(S) govt), to know about their movements, Shivakumar said, “but this (alleged sex CD) is his (Jarkiholi) personal matter.” “We don’t want personal issues…. I had got to know about things from those in the media about what all was happening, but it is their personal issues. I don’t need it,” he said.
In her fourth video statement released today, the woman too has authenticated the conversation in the audio clip and said she had gone to meet Shivakumar, but could not. The woman said she got scared when the video was aired by news channels and got in touch with a person named Naresh, who works in the media for help. The man then advised her to seek state Congress President D K Shivakumar’s help, using the contacts he has.
“… as I was getting repeated calls from family members who were frightened and my parents were crying. I tried convincing my mother and told that I was going to Shivakumar’s house to talk to him,” she said, adding that she had gone to the Congress leader’s residence along with Naresh but was unable to meet him, and had to return as things were developing fast.
To a question, whether he knew Naresh, whose name has been linked with the CD row, Shivakumar said, “Yes, he is someone known to me, he is from the media, I have been to his house also. He had met me several times and informed me about things.” Asked about BJP demanding for his resignation, Shivakumar merly said, he was really happy to hear it. On the woman seeking protection for her family, he said the government has to provide it, we have good police officers who will take care. The woman in her latest video statement expressed fear about the safety of her family and wondered whether to live or die. She requested the SIT not to provide security to her family at their current location, but to bring them to Bengaluru.
“I don’t know where my parents, my brothers and grandmother are, I want them to be in Bengaluru. This is my request to SIT. I want them to be in front of me if I have to give my statement,” she said, adding that she was safe and no one has kidnapped her. The woman said that she was going through torture for the last 24 days. “I don’t know what to do… I want to mention Ramesh Jarkiholi’s name and kill myself over the torture.”
“Ramesh Jarkiholi is saying that he can make the government collapse in one day and is ready to spend any amount to put everyone behind bars. What does this mean?” she asked. “People should understand it. They are ready to do anything, they can harm my parents or kill me,” she said.
Commenting on the development, Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the series of audio and videos are coming like a television serial, and the SIT will investigate the CD, audio and video in detail and examine it scientifically also.
“As I have already said, the SIT will not buckle under any kind of pressure or influence or attempts to mislead. It is working systematically as per law without favouring any one to find out the truth and will continue to do so,” he added.
Meanwhile, the woman’s family members appeared before the SIT and officials are gathering information from them, sources said. Her father and two brothers have appeared before SIT which is investigating the sex scandal, they said. A day after news channels aired videos of the alleged sex scandal, Jarkiholi, who was Water Resources Minister in Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa-led cabinet, had resigned on March 3. Jarkiholi has repeatedly claimed that he was innocent and that the video was “fake”. PTI