BJP leader Devaraje Gowda detained in sexual harassment case after purported video goes public

Police said they detained BJP leader Devaraje Gowda from Chitradurga district on Friday evening in connection with a sexual harassment case.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 10, 2024 | 11:26 PMUpdatedMay 10, 2024 | 11:26 PM

File photo of Devaraje Gowda.

Karnataka BJP leader Devaraje Gowda — who wrote to party leaders about JD(S) scion Prajwal Revanna allegedly sexually abusing several women — was detained on Friday, 10 May.

One of the reasons the saffron party leader from Holenarsipura in Karnataka is in police custody is a case of sexual harassment against him.

Hassan Police were on the lookout for Devaraje Gowda after a couple filed two different cases against him, Meanwhile, audio and video clips allegedly featuring him were leaked and circulated on social media platforms.

Police said they detained Gowda from near Hiriyur in the Chitradurga district on Friday evening.

They added that they managed to detain Gowda, who had been on the run since Thursday, with the aid of Chitradurga Police.

Related: BJP knew of Prajwal Revanna’s ‘videos’, yet went ahead with alliance

A story of pot calling kettle black?

When BJP leader Devaraje Gowda from Holenarsipura in Karnataka hit the headlines late last month, he came across as an upright person trying to do the correct thing.

After all, Gowda — the BJP candidate from Holenarsipura in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections — said back then that he had written to the party leadership about a pen drive he had received.

He claimed he informed them about the 3,000-odd videos of women — including government officials — performing sexual acts with JD(S) leader and the NDA’s Hassan Lok Sabha constituency candidate Prajwal Revanna, but no state leader paid heed to it.

Then, it emerged on Thursday, 9 May, that he had been booked for sexual abuse as well as under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act following the complaints of a couple.

A day later, Gowda’s purported audio and video call with a woman — where he reportedly displayed his private parts — have come as an even more startling revelation.

After Prajwal’s videos were leaked, Devaraje Gowda also alleged that Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar — who is also the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief — was the mastermind behind the videos going viral.

He also demanded that the state government hand over probe in Prajwal Revanna and HD Revanna sexual abuse case to the CBI.

In the 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls, Devaraje Gowda settled for third place in the Holenarsipura seat. JD(S) leader and Prajwal’s father HD Revanna won from the seat.

Related: BJP leader says DK Shivakumar masterminded Prajwal Revanna case probe

Obscene audio, video calls leaked

Gowda has been charged with sexual harassment and under the Atrocities Act by a couple who filed complaints at the Holenarsipura Town Police Station in March and April.

The woman claimed she had recorded all the video and audio calls Devaraje Gowda made to her, where he reportedly misbehaved with her.

She added that she would produce the evidence before the investigative officers whenever they demanded.

It now appears that his private video and audio calls were circulating on social networking platforms by Friday evening.

A Kannada news channel claimed as much. It added that the BJP leader could be heard in one of the purported audio calls asking the woman to expose herself.

In a video call, Devaraje Gowda purportedly appeared to be flashing the woman. The video call was said to be more than 10 seconds long.

Also Read: Citizens ask NCW about lack of strong action against Prajwal, HD Revanna

Hassan SP gives assurances

In connection with two FIRs filed against Devaraje Gowda, Hassan Superintendent of Police (SP) Mohammed Sujeetha said that investigations were underway.

However, police were yet to arrest Gowda even 40 days after the FIRs were filed. The detention came only on Friday.

Sujeetha told South First: “We had served a notice to him and, asking him to appear for enquiry. We have been in the process of probing this case.”

According to police sources: “Devaraje Gowda was a served notice. He had appeared for an enquiry. The allegations did not appear strong as the complainants did not cooperate with the investigating officers in submitting evidence.”

They added: “The investigating officers asked the woman complainant to produce the evidence multiple times, but she refused to submit and gave petty reasons.”

They also said: “Gowda’s audio and video calls came to our notice only after they were telecasted on news channels. He had gone underground since Thursday.”

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)