"BJP Has Lost Moral Right To Rule": Congress On Karnataka Row, Gag Order

Six ministers in Karnataka have obtained an injunction against the publication of defamatory news against them amid the sex-for-job row around one minister.

Siddaramaiah slammed the Karnataka ministers for filing for an injunction.

Bengaluru:

Sex, lies and videotape. Or at least a CD. Over the last few days, the political establishment in Karnataka was touched by an alleged scandal in which a minister was accused of demanding sex in return for a job. With the ruling BJP in Karnataka finding itself in an embarrassing position, the Congress is determined to make the most of it.

The claim was made by a man, Dinesh Kallahalli, who said he was filing a complaint on behalf of the woman. He produced a CD allegedly showing the minister Ramesh Jarkiholi and the woman - she herself has not come forward.

Even more curious - Mr Kallahalli has withdrawn the complaint against the minister, saying he was hurt by a statement by former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy of the Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) that he had released the CD because he had been paid a large sum of money. And also that the issue might harm the image of the woman involved.

Six other ministers, meanwhile, obtained an injunction against the publication of defamatory news against them.

The issue - along with other allegations - spilt into the assembly on a day when the state budget presentation was to happen - with the Congress staging a walkout and boycotting the presentation.

Former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah of the Congress told journalists, "(Chief Minister) Yediyurappa and (minister Murugesh) Nirani were involved in a criminal case. The High Court passed a judgement on their petition to quash the FIR. The court rejected this. They appealed to Supreme Court which heard the matter and refused to grant stay on High Court judgement."

"They (the six ministers) are under the fear that CDs which are there may be telecast. With this fear and apprehension, they went to court and got a temporary injunction. In their petition they have mentioned there are another 19 CDs. That means to say this government has lost the right to rule this state. They have lost the moral right," he added.

Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ashwath Narayan told NDTV: "Because they had no other issue, they wanted to divert things by raising an issue which has no relevance... If you look at the Ramesh Jarkiholi issue - the complainant, the victim - nobody has come forward. Some activist has come forward and he has yesterday withdrawn... Even then, the party has taken a moral ground since it was in the public domain and ensured the concerned minister resigned without waiting."

On the injunction being obtained by six other ministers, Dr Narayan said, "The apprehension is there. Nobody can be prevented from complaining if anything wrong has been done... But creating and bringing pictures, videos in public domain before anyone knows if they are true or false. They wanted to ensure they did not become a victim. They felt this was a better way than becoming a victim of the situation or because of somebody's high handedness."