‘25,000 pen drives circulated’, claims Prajwal’s uncle HD Kumaraswamy; seeks Dy CM Shivakumar’s suspension

Kumaraswamy claimed that 25,000 pen drives with such videos were distributed before polls, and accused CM Siddaramaiah and his Deputy, DK Shivakumar, of a conspiracy.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 07, 2024 | 5:11 PM Updated May 07, 2024 | 5:32 PM

‘25,000 pen drives circulated’, claims Prajwal’s uncle HD Kumaraswamy; seeks Dy CM Shivakumar’s suspension

JD(S) state chief and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Tuesday, 7 May, called for the immediate suspension of Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar from the cabinet, alleging he played a role in leaking the pen drive with videos of women being sexually abused allegedly by his nephew, Prajwal Revanna.

Kumaraswamy claimed that 25,000 pen drives with such videos were distributed before polls, and accused Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy Shivakumar of a conspiracy.

In a press conference held in Bengaluru, Kumaraswamy criticized both the government and the Special Investigation Team (SIT) for their inaction regarding the complaint filed by Prajwal Revanna’s polling agent Poornachandra Tejaswi against four persons for sharing the obscene videos which also includes content of sexual abuse.

Kumaraswamy alleged that 25,000 pen drives were distributed in the entire state, and cited a report in a regional daily to support his claim. He also clarified that he would not offer protection to anyone in this case and does not support Prajwal Revanna as well.

“I have said that in this case I will not protect anyone doing wrong. Stringent punishment should be given to the person involved in this crime as per the law of land,” he said.

Also Read: Cong asks PM Modi to break his ‘silence’ on Prajwal Revanna sexual abuse case

‘Pen drives circulated by police officers’

Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, he said, “Ahead of the first phase of the Lok Sabha polls in Karnataka, the pen drive was circulated not just in Hassan but also in Mandya and Bangalore Rural as well. The police officers circulated the pen drives as they were “threatened to do it.”

“It (pen drive carrying videos) was released in Bangalore Rural constituency (where the Congress candidate in the Lok Sabha elections is D K Suresh, who is the brother of Shivakumar). This was an April 21 development. On April 22, Poornachandra, our polling agent, gave a complaint to the District Deputy Commissioner, who is the Returning Officer,” the JD(S) leader said. HD Kumaraswamy’s brother-in-law Dr CN Manjunath is NDA’s candidate in Bangalore rural.

“Poornachandra received a message at 8 pm on April 21 asking people to ‘follow a WhatsApp channel to see Prajwal Revanna’s sleaze video’. There was a message on this WhatsApp channel, ‘Countdown for the release of Prajwal’s sleaze videos’, Kumaraswamy further said.

He continued, “Earlier, I have made it clear this evil development has deeply pained me. I am not protecting anyone among my relatives in this sexual abuse case. I want to clarify that even now I wish that whoever may be the accused in this case must be punished as per the law of the land. There is no question of compromise in this case.”

According to Kumaraswamy, one Naveen Gowda had sent the message about the “countdown”. Kumaraswamy expressed frustration over the lack of action taken despite the filing of an FIR against five individuals.

He said, “The FIR has been filed against the five people namely: Naveen Gowda, Karthik Gowda, Chetan and Putti alias Puttaraju. It has been fifteen days since the complaint has been filed but no action has been taken.”

He also criticized the Election Commission of India’s state nodal officer for closing the case based on a report, highlighting the lack of action by the Cyber, Economic and Narcotic (CEN) Police Station in Hassan.

Kumaraswamy further said: “When elections were underway, CM Siddaramaiah said multiple times that all the three JD(S) nominees would lose the elections. If he said it with such confidence, then the truth should come out regarding who is behind this pen drive.”

Also Read: K’taka CM holds discussion with DGP; says SIT working independently, impartially

Kumaraswamy objects to ‘focus’ on Prajwal

Kumaraswamy further voiced his objections to the focus on Prajwal in the controversy.

He pointed out: “Based on the complaint of Karnataka State Commission for Women Chairperson Dr Nagalakshmi Chowdry on 27 April, the Chief Minister replied on the same day on X that they would set-up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe into Prajwal Revanna’s obscene videos case.”

“In the complaint filed by the women’s commission, there is no mention of Prajwal Revanna or HD Revanna’s name. The Chief Minister tweets that it is Prajwal Revanna’s video. The commission’s chairperson did not name anyone but demanded a probe.”

“I don’t have any issues with this tweet. I don’t want to delve into technicalities here. This is just an example to show how conspiracies are being hatched,” alleged the former CM.

Continuing, he said, “On 28 April, a complaint was typed in Bengaluru and sent electronically to Holenarasipura, where it was filed. The victim was compelled to write a complaint in Malleswaram. The FIR was lodged there.”

“I initially welcomed the Chief Minister’s swift action in forming the SIT. When the case was given to SIT, I had hoped for a transparent investigation, “Kumaraswamy said.

“I later discovered that instead of a genuine Special Investigation Team, it turned out to be “Siddaramaiah Investigation Team” and “Shivakumar Investigation Team”. This is not a SIT. The call recordings between them and officials must be made public,” demanded Kumaraswamy.

“I want to clarify that I won’t interrupt with the media’s reporting alleging Prajwal’s involvement. I do not support Prajwal Revanna. Let the investigation be transparent,” appealed the former CM.

Also Read: Zero tolerance for someone like Prajwal Revanna, says PM Modi

‘Govt’s focus on publicity, not justice for victims’

Stating that the victims are being threatened and pressured to register complaints, Kumaraswamy reiterated that the government prioritises publicity over justice for victims.

Kumaraswamy said, “The question is about how the investigation is being carried out. On 28 April, an FIR was registered at Holenarasipura and all the bailable sections have been added.”

“On the second day, another FIR was registered that she was sexually assaulted at gunpoint. Who has leaked these documents to the media? Who is building stories?” asked the former CM.

“There is a supreme court judgement that the matters related to the ongoing investigation should not be leaked. Secrecy should be maintained. This government focuses on publicity rather than giving protection to victims. This complaint is just being used as a weapon to defame,” suspected Kumaraswamy.

He said, “This is a shocking incident. Does the government investigate this case so lightly? When Prajwal Revanna was campaigning in Belur on 21 April, who was the woman that sat next to him? I have the photographs as well.”

“She participated in the poll rally alongside Prajwal Revanna. If she was subjected to three years of threats and assault, why did she participate in campaigning on 22 April?” asked Kumaraswamy.

Also Read: BJP leader calls DK Shivakumar “mastermind” in Prajwal Revanna case probe

‘A story cooked up against Revanna’

Kumaraswamy also responded to the arrest of HD Revanna by the SIT, expressing his stance on the matter. “An FIR was also registered against Revanna. No one has directly accused Revanna,” he stated.

“A story was cooked up against Revanna that he was involved in blackmail and kidnapping. Where did they find the victim for spot inquest?”

Questioning the government’s handling of the case, Kumaraswamy continued, “The government’s public prosecutor, during the bail plea, claimed to be unaware of the victim’s whereabouts. How did they locate her?”

“Who initially brought her? She was reportedly brought from a farmhouse. Have they done mahajar at the farm house?” asked the former CM.

He further said: “This woman was made to spent one and half days in your office. Didn’t she give a statement? Why wasn’t she produced before the judge even after two days? Who pressured her to provide a statement?”

Kumaraswamy said the ‘convenor’ of the “pen drive story”, Karthik Gowda should be traced first and brought before the people.

“Going through the conspiracies, one can doubt the intention behind the investigation because more than protecting the women victims, you are limiting the scope of the probe only to defame people,” he further alleged.

“It has been 15 days since the videos were out and a complaint was filed against Karthik. He has released a video stating that he has shared pen drive only to BJP leader Devaraje Gowda. He has not been arrested till date. If he had a clean hand, why is he being protected?” asked Kumaraswamy.

He demanded answers regarding Karthik’s whereabouts, expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s response.

“There are talks he has been sent to Malaysia. When Revanna was detained, CM acted like he was unaware about this development. Where is Karthik? Why has SIT not arrested him?” Kumaraswamy asked demanding Karthik’s arrest.

Also Read: B’luru court restricts media from involving HD Deve Gowda, HD Kumaraswamy

‘Women threatened, lured with money to file complaint’

Kumaraswamy said: “SIT stated that they were unable to find victims to file complaints in this case. If the proper investigation is carried out, then the truth will come out about how many lakhs have been given to register a fake complaint and threaten them.”

Addressing Dr Parameshwar, the Home Minister, he criticized, “You have left these five people free who leaked videos and defamed our state’s name. An FIR has also been registered in Hassan. Which color lookout notice has been issued against these five people?”

“I will not ask the Chief Minister or the deputy Chief minister; I will question the Home Minister about what action has been taken against these people? SIT has not even touched them. What kind of investigation is underway? What order has been issued?” he asked, posing a series of questions.

Taking dig at Hassan Deputy Commissioner Sathyabama C, Kumaraswamy said: “When some organisations went to seek justice before Hassan Deputy Commissioner, she told different stories. I am aware of what your husband and you have done in Kolar.”

“I want to ask a question to the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police, both of whom are women. Has anyone among 2,976 suspected incidents filed a complaint before the helpline?” asked the former CM.

Also Read: Women of country will give you answer: Congress hits out at PM Modi 

‘Why was Rahul Gandhi not summoned?’

Pointing out at AICC former chief Rahul Gandhi’s poll rally statement, where he reportedly said that Prajwal has molested several minors as well, Kumaraswamy asked the SIT chief and ADGP BK Singh that why he has not yet summoned Gandhi? Why was a complaint not taken from him? Rahul Gandhi is making direct allegations.”

“In the leaked video incident, it appears to be DK Shivakumar’s conspiracy. He should be dismissed from the cabinet immediately. It is our demand. We will not leave this case easily and also won’t allow it to close this case. If the Chief Minister has any morals, he should suspend Shivakumar from the cabinet,” demanded Kumaraswamy.

MLA H D Revanna and his son and Hassan MP Prajwal have been booked for molesting their cook. In another case, Revanna has been booked and arrested for kidnapping a woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Prajwal. A case of rape has also been registered against Prajwal.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj, with PTI inputs)