• Monday, June 17, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

India’s opposition says Modi shielding sex scandal accused

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election campaign rally in Meerut, India, March 31, 2024. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

By: Shajil Kumar

A sex scandal involving a Indian member of parliament from a regional party has embroiled prime mininster Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.

Prajwal Revanna, 33, had allegedly sexually assaulted around 400 women and blackmailed them using 2,800 videos recording the assaults.

He is the grandson of HD Deve Gowda, who was prime minister for nine months in 1996, and his party, the Janata Dal (Secular) or JDS, is allied with BJP in Karnataka state.

India is currently going through a staggered seven-phase general election, and the BJP was hoping that an electoral alliance with the JDS would improve its tally in southern states.

While BJP’s hardline majoritarianism has a wide appeal in north India, it has, so far, failed to make significant political inroads into the south.

During his election campaign rallies in Karnataka, Modi had appeared alongside Revanna and other JDS leaders urging the people to vote for BJP and its allies.

A few days before elections were to be held in Karnataka, about 2,000 USB drives containing the incriminating videos were left at public places in the state.

The family’s former driver, Kartik, is alleged to have leaked them. He had a fallout with the family a year ago.

Revanna has fled the country, allegedly on a diplomatic passport, and is believed to be in Germany.

The JDS has suspended Revanna while the state government is investigating the matter.

Before the elections, Revanna had filed a police complaint claiming the videos were ‘doctored’ and were being circulated to ‘poison’ voters’ minds.

The opposition Congress Party has seized upon this opportunity to hit out at Modi alleging that he had helped Revanna flee the country.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi alleged that Modi and his party officials were aware of the videos before they were made public.

Gandhi termed it as ‘mass rape’ and said the prime minister and BJP had supported Revanna as a poll candidate, despite being aware about his nefarious activities.

Congress party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi also challenged Modi at a political rally on this issue.

The BJP has distanced itself from its ally and is blaming the state government, headed by Congress party, for failing to prevent Revanna from fleeing abroad.

Revanna’s father, HD Revanna, was arrested on Saturday after the maid alleged she had been assaulted by him.

Meanwhile, several women, believed to be victims of Revanna, have left their homes after their identities became public, Indian Express reported.

 

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