Devaraje Gowda — who informed BJP of Prajwal’s videos — booked for sexual harassment and under Atrocities Act

An artist accusing the Karnataka BJP leader of hurling casteist slurs. His spouse said in another complaint that Gowda sexually harassed her.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published May 10, 2024 | 12:09 AMUpdatedMay 10, 2024 | 12:09 AM

Arrested Karnataka BJP leader Devaraje Gowda

BJP’s Hassan leader Devaraje Gowda — who wrote to BJP leadership about Prajwal Revanna’s videos — has been booked on various charges including sexual harassment and under the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The first complaint was filed on 31 March by an artist, accusing the Karnataka BJP leader of hurling casteist slurs. His spouse said in a complaint at the same police station on 1 April that Gowda sexually harassed her.

Devarje Gowda unsuccessfully contested the Holenarsipura seat in the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections.

He hit the headlines more recently after it emerged that he reportedly cautioned the BJP high command against fielding sitting Hassan MP Prajwal Revanna on an NDA ticket for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

In his letter to the party leadership, he highlighted the existence of sexual abuse videos allegedly featuring Prajwal.

More recently, he accused Deputy Chief Minister and Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee chief DK Shivakumar of masterminding the leaking of the videos.

He also accused the Special Investigation Team (SIT) — which is probing the case — of being biased.

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

The sexual harassment allegations

Holenarsipura Police registered an FIR against Devaraje Gowda on 1 April based on the complaint of a 36-year-old. The cops booked Gowda under several provisions of the law.

They include Sections 354(A) (sexual harassment), 354(C) (watching or capturing the image of a woman in a private act without her consent), 448 (house trespass), 504 (threaten public peace and tranquillity), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC and provisions of the Information Technology Act of 2008.

“Devaraj Gowda came into contact [with me] 10 months ago and used to call frequently. Dharmendra, who is my spouse, has a site in Holenarsipura. [Gowda] claimed that he would ensure that our house would be constructed there as the assistant commissioner was known to him,” said the woman in her complaint.

“He called me to Hassan and took me in his car to four-five places. Then, Devaraje Gowda took me to a deserted area behind a beer manufacturing plant attached to Holenarsipura Road and physically assaulted me,” alleged the complainant.

She also said: “The accused used to come to my residence and physically assaulted me. Two months ago, Devaraj Gowda showed me his private parts on WhatsApp. He then threatened to kill my husband if I didn’t listen to him. He used to frequently visit the house and physically abuse me.”

The woman continued in her complaint: “On 4 February, the accused called me and threatened that he would leak the photos he had sent me on social media if I didn’t turn up at the place.”

She added: “On 29 March, Veena, who works at BJP’s Holenarasipur office, called me at 1.30 pm and asked for my residential address and account details. Around 6.30 pm the same day, two unknown persons came to our house and took away my mobile phone without asking me.”

She also said: “While leaving, they threatened me not to contact Devaraje Gowda any more. They also tried to physically assault me.”

She also said: “Devaraje Gowda showed me his private part on WhatsApp, and I captured the act on my mobile phone. The photos will be produced when asked.”

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

The Atrocities Act charges

In another case, Gowda was booked under sections of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for allegedly hurling casteist remarks and physically and mentally assaulting the complainant.

The previous complainant’s 37-year-old husband filed a complaint against Devaraje Gowda at the Holenarsipura Town Police Station on 31 March.

Subsequently, Devaraje Gowda was booked under the Atrocities Act and Sections 506 (criminal intimidation) and 504 (threatening public peace and tranquillity) of the IPC.

In the complaint, the artist alleged while he was sitting with his friends, Devaraje Gowda turned up and hurled casteist remarks at him. “He also threatened to kill my family if we approached the police station,” he said.

“[Gowda] said he was fighting against former prime minister HD Deve Gowda’s family. When I objected to his casteist slurs, he tried to attack my wife. Even my friends objected to it,” he said.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)