Saturday, June 22, 2024

Prajwal Revanna Returns From Germany, Arrested In Sex Crimes Case

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Prajwal Revanna is the outgoing Lok Sabha MP from Karnataka’s Hassan (File).

Bengaluru:

Karnataka lawmaker Prajwal Revanna – who went to Germany last month, shortly after sex crimes allegations by women who said he forced them into sexual acts that were then filmed – was arrested just after midnight as he arrived at Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport.

The Janata Dal-Secular leader – who flew back aboard Lufthansa flight LH0764 – was taken into custody by members of a special police team tasked with investigating the charges against him.

Sources said he had twice earlier cancelled flights home.

READ | Bengaluru Court Rejects Prajwal Revanna’s Pre-Arrest Bail Request

A special court in Bengaluru on Thursday rejected an anticipatory bail request.

The police, meanwhile, have searched his Hassan home and seized “incriminating material”.

“Apologise To My Parents…”

On Monday Revanna released a video statement on X in which he said, “I apologise to my parents… I was in depression (over political rivals’ attacks on the sex assault charges). I will appear (before the police team) on May 31. I will cooperate to the best of my abilities… I have the blessings of God…”

READ | Prajwal Revanna Apologises To Parents, Says Will Return

The message came after a ‘warning’ from his grandfather and JDS patriarch HD Deve Gowda, who told him to return to India and surrender, or “face your family’s anger…”

READ | “Surrender Or Face My Anger”: Deve Gowda To Grandson Revanna

Revanna is also the nephew of ex-Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, who issued similar warnings.

And he is also the outgoing Hassan Lok Sabha MP; the 33-year-old won this seat in 2019 and was re-nominated for the 2024 election with support from the JDS’ new ally – the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The BJP has distanced itself from Revanna and the investigation. Its state unit boss, S Prakash, said, “We, as a party, have nothing to do with the videos and neither do we have any comments to make…”

READ | BJP, JDS In Firefighting Mode Over Prajwal Revanna Sex Charges

The JDS, meanwhile, had to deal with internal criticism after it emerged party leader Sharangouda Kandkur had warned of potential embarrassment if these allegations were to become public.

Prajwal Revanna Sex Tapes Case Timeline

On April 27 – six days after the allegations surfaced, and a day after voting in Hassan – Revanna boarded a flight to Munich on the back of his diplomatic passport. On the same day, he posted a statement on X; he only said “truth will prevail soon” and made no mention of the charges.

A day later the ruling Congress formed a special police team based on complaints from the state’s Women’s Commission, and the first case was filed – a week after the videos surfaced and Revanna fled, triggering a political row with the Congress and the BJP blaming the other for his escape.

READ | How Prajwal Revanna, Accused Of Sex Crimes, Left Without A Visa

A police case has also been filed against his father, HD Revanna, for allegedly kidnapping a woman who said she had been raped by both men. The father, a former MLA and Public Works Department Minister, was given bail in the kidnapping case on May 14 and the sexual assault case last week.

READ | Karnataka JDS MLA HD Revanna Gets Bail In Sexual Assault Case

On May 1 the Congress and the BJP escalated their sniping over Revanna.

READ | Cancel Diplomatic Passport Of Revanna: Siddaramaiah To PM

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and asked for Revanna’s diplomatic passport to be cancelled. He wrote to the PM again on May 22; a day after the investigating police team sent a similar request – to the Ministry of External Affairs.

A separate squabble then broke out over the passport cancellation requests.

The Congress accused the BJP of dragging its feet to shield Revanna. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hit back by saying his office had only received the request on May 21.

READ | “Got Request To Impound Passport On May 21”: S Jaishankar

“We immediately acted on it… on May 23… we have to follow a certain procedure,” he told news agency ANI. The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson confirmed Thursday (May 29) that a show-cause notice had been sent to the JDS leader, and that he had been given 10 days to respond.

On May 7 Interpol issued a Blue Corner notice, which requests police in member nations to collect information about an accused, his location, and/or activities in relation to a criminal inquiry.

The warrant against Prajwal Revanna – under which he has been arrested – was issued May 18.

And last week, on May 23, Deve Gowda wrote to his grandson demanding he surrender.

“At this juncture, I can do only one thing. I can issue a stern warning to Prajwal and ask him to return from wherever he is and surrender before the police.”

Four days later Revanna posted the video in which he said he would return on May 31.

Charges Against Prajwal Revanna

Three cases have been filed.

One was on April 28 in Hassan in which a 47-year-old former maid has alleged sexual assault and exploitation. HD Revanna was arrested in connection with this case as the primary accused, and rape charges were added against Prajwal Revanna after an additional statement from the woman.

NDTV Analysis | Systemic Failure In Not Forcing Revanna To Face Law

The second was registered by the cops on May 1; a 44-year-old woman – who may be a JDS worker – has accused Prajwal Revanna of raping her multiple times, including at least once at gunpoint.

The third was filed on May 3 and a 60-year-old woman has accused Prajwal Revanna of rape.

Prajwal Revanna has denied all charges against him and has claimed a conspiracy by his rivals.

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