Karnataka Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi resigned today on "moral grounds" after an alleged sex tape was aired by local news channels. "Allegations against me are far from the truth. Clear investigation is needed. I'll come out innocent and I'm confident about it. I'm resigning on moral grounds and I request you to accept this," Ramesh Jarkiholi said in his resignation letter that was promptly accepted by Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, 60, who was Water Resources Minister, was asked to quit by his party leadership, news agency PTI reported. BJP national general secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Arun Singh, is said to have communicated the party's decision to the state leadership, keeping in mind upcoming assembly elections in five states including neighbouring Tamil Nadu and panchayat polls in Karnataka, PTI reported.
His brother, BJP MLA Balachandra Jarkiholi, has sought a CBI probe into the allegations and has threatened to file a Rs 100 crore suit against those who released the "fake CD".
The video, apparently showing the Karnataka minister getting intimate with an unidentified woman, was widely aired by Kannada news channels as a sex-for-jobs scandal.
"The identity of the woman who they claim has faced injustice is not known. Someone gives the complaint claiming her relatives insisted on it... taking such a complaint is wrong because the affected person has to make the complaint, not just anyone from the street," Balachandra Jarkiholi said, defending his brother.
The allegation, just ahead of the budget session of the Karnataka assembly starting tomorrow, comes as a huge embarrassment to the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government.
Ramesh Jarkiholi, an MLA from Gokak, was earlier with the Congress. He was among the chief architects in the downfall of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition government in 2019. He organized defections that helped the BJP come to power in Karnataka, and was rewarded with a ministry by Chief Minister Yediyurappa.
Activist Dinesh Kallahalli on Tuesday filed a police complaint against Ramesh Jarkiholi, accusing him of sex harassment of a "job aspirant" and threatening her and family.
Ramesh Jarkiholi had said he was "shocked" to hear the allegations and that the video was "100 per cent fake".