Karnataka porn scandal: Ruckus in Assembly; three ministers may be asked to quit as MLAs

Karnataka porn scandal: Ruckus in Assembly; three ministers may be asked to quit as MLAs

Click to Expand & Play

Bangalore Three Karnataka ministers who were allegedly caught on camera watching porn on a cellphone in the state Assembly have resigned. The ministers - Lakshman Savadi, CC Patil and Krishna Palemar - may be asked to resign as MLAs too.

The issue led to a high-voltage uproar in the Assembly as it convened today, with Opposition members shouting "shame, shame". They demanded that the three BJP MLAs be expelled. The House was adjourned for half-an-hour. All floor leaders of the Karnataka Assembly met before the House convened.

The BJP says the ministers resigned voluntarily. The trio reportedly said they were keen "to save the party's image."  Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda of the BJP forwarded their resignations to the Governor. The resignations have been accepted.

The ministers were filmed by a local channel that was broadcasting proceedings in the Assembly. Sources say the ministers allegedly viewed two clips on a phone - one was pornographic, the other was a news story on a rape. According to reports, the person holding the mobile phone in the video clip shown by the channel is Mr Savadi. The person sitting next to him is Mr Patil. The phone allegedly belonged to Mr Palemar, who gave it to Mr Savadi, sources say.

The BJP is red-faced and in a huddle at the highest level. It points out that the ministers have resigned and says an inquiry will be held into the matter. BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman also said that appropriate action would be taken against the BJP men if they were found guilty. "If it has happened, it is very worrying," she said. "It is a very unfortunate incident," added the party's Arun Jaitley.

The Opposition is in no mood to back down, and has even demanded the Chief Minister's resignation over the matter.

The Congress' Veerappa Moily says the ministers' resignation is not enough for the "shameless act"; the ministers, he says, should be suspended by the Assembly Speaker and should be arrested for "violating the law and the sanctity of the Assembly."  Cellphones are not allowed inside Assembly and watching porn is illegal, apart from the charges of "morality and perversity" that the Congress has levelled. 
 
One of the ministers, Lakshman Savadi held a press conference yesterday to deny the accusations. Mr Savadi said the cellphone he used to view the content was not his. He also said the clip he watched "was of four people molesting a foreigner." He added, "I am not a criminal."

Discussions between BJP top leadership and state party leaders are currently underway. There were reports that BJP president Nitin Gadkari, currently in Uttar Pradesh, phoned Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda and the party's state unit chief K S Eshwarappa last night and discussed the incident.
 
Mr Savadi's house was stoned last evening by protesters who were then taken away by the police.

Trinamool MP Derek O'Brien tweeted, "If an MP (or) MLA watches porn in his bedroom, it's his problem. If he watches it in (the) Parliament (or) Assembly it's a big problem."

Story First Published: February 08, 2012 08:59 IST

................................ Advertisement ................................

FROM THE WEB
MORE FROM NDTV

................................ Advertisement ................................