Indian lawmaker allied with Modi’s BJP faces sexual harassment probe

By Thomson Reuters Apr 29, 2024 | 5:44 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s southern state of Karnataka will investigate a lawmaker whose party is a key ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on suspicion of sexual harassment, the state’s chief minister has said.

The scion of a prominent political family, the lawmaker, Prajwal Revanna, 33, is the grandson of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, the nephew of a former chief minister of the state and the son of another former Karnataka minister.

The accusations surfaced last week as half of the state voted in India’s seven-phase general elections, in which Revanna was seeking a second term for his Janata Dal (Secular) party.

“The government has decided to form a special investigation team in connection with Prajwal Revanna’s obscene video case,” Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, whose Congress party is a BJP rival, said in a social media post over the weekend.

“Obscene video clips are circulating … where it appears that women have been sexually assaulted,” he added.

Police registered a complaint against Revanna based on the statement of a woman who worked in the family home, and also named his father, H.D. Revanna, as a suspect, media said.

Prajwal Revanna did not respond to requests for comment, with media saying he was out of the country.

“I will not react about anything,” his father told reporters on Monday, but added the son would return when required.

“Since this has been handed over to a special investigation team, I will not say anything that will affect it,” H.D. Revanna added. “He had to go on a trip and he has gone … He will come when he is called to join the investigation.”

(Reporting by Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by Y P Rajesh and Clarence Fernandez)