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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 12 June 2024

Sexual assault case: Will return to India and face probe, says Prajwal Revanna

Prajwal, 33, who is seeking re-election from his Hassan Lok Sabha constituency, had flown abroad just as the accusations against him became public, triggering allegations that he was fleeing justice

K.M. Rakesh Bengaluru Published 28.05.24, 05:48 AM
Prajwal Revanna.

Prajwal Revanna. File picture.

Janata Dal Secular MP Prajwal Revanna on Monday released a video announcing he would return to India and, at 10am on May 31, appear before Karnataka police’s special investigation team that is probing sexual abuse allegations against him.

Prajwal, 33, who is seeking re-election from his Hassan Lok Sabha constituency, had flown abroad just as the accusations against him became public, triggering allegations that he was fleeing justice.

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“I will appear before the SIT on May 31 at 10am and fully cooperate with the investigation,” Prajwal, grandson of JDS patriarch and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, says in the video.

“I am confident of coming out clean against these false allegations through the courts, since I have complete faith in the judiciary.”

It appears unlikely that Prajwal would have the chance to appear before the SIT by himself. A city court issued an arrest warrant against him on May 18, which would enable the SIT to detain him at the airport itself.

Prajwal has not, however, revealed his flight details or his current location. His father and Holenarasipura MLA, H.D. Revanna, has said Prajwal flew to Germany on a prescheduled trip.

A former domestic help of Prajwal has accused him of sexual abuse. Father and son are also accused of having abducted her to intimidate her against accusing Prajwal.

The SIT probing Prajwal is also investigating pen drives containing 2,976 files — including video clips and pictures of suspected sexual abuse of multiple women — that were found discarded in Hassan just days before the April 26 election there. While the Opposition has alleged the man in the clip is Prajwal, the SIT hasn't yet officially confirmed it.

Prajwal begins the nearly three-minute video message saying: "I apologise to my parents, grandfather, my Kumaranna (uncle and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy), the people of my state and all the party workers."

He claims he had no idea about the charges against him until a few days after leaving Bengaluru, which he did early on April 27.

"There was no case against me when the election was held on April 26. There was no SIT, either. My overseas trip on April 26 was already planned," he says. "Three or four days after I reached overseas, I happened to see news on YouTube about this."

He says he sought seven days from the police to respond, contacting the force from abroad through his lawyer, but slipped into depression after the allegations were widely discussed in public forums.

"But even after that (his May 1 tweet saying he had sought time from the police) Congress leaders including Rahul Gandhi started discussing this issue in open forums. I slipped into depression and went into isolation,” he says.

Prajwal’s announcement comes after repeated appeals to him from Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy to return and face the law.

In a public statement on X recently, Deve Gowda had warned Prajwal that he would have to face the anger of his family if he did not return to India.

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