India MP arrested in sex abuse case on return to country

Home US & World India MP arrested in sex abuse case on return to country
India MP arrested in sex abuse case on return to country

Cherylann Mollan,BBC News, Mumbai

Reuters Prajwal Revanna had been absconding since 27 AprilReuters

Prajwal Revanna had been absconding since 27 April

Police in India have arrested a lawmaker who fled the country after being accused of sexually abusing several women.

Prajwal Revanna, who left India on 27 April, was arrested on his arrival from Germany in the southern city of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) early on Friday.

Mr Revanna has denied all the allegations against him.

The 33-year-old MP belongs to the Janata Dal (Secular) party, which is an ally of PM Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mr Revanna, who belongs to an influential political family, is seeking re-election from the Hassan constituency in the southern state of Karnataka.

But shortly before voting in Hassan, thousands of USB sticks with videos of the MP allegedly abusing women circulated in Karnataka, sparking outrage.

Mr Revanna did not comment on the videos, but an official from his office said that the videos had been doctored.

He fled the country shortly after voting ended in his constituency.

Reports say the police have registered three cases of sexual assault against the MP so far.

A special police team set up by Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah is investigating the cases.

On 18 May, a special court had issued an arrest warrant against Mr Revanna, following an application moved by the special investigation team (SIT).

Getty Images RevannaGetty Images

Mr Revanna is the grandson of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda

Days before he was arrested, Mr Revanna had applied for anticipatory bail but a court on Thursday rejected his plea.

After remaining missing for several weeks, Mr Revanna had released a video on 27 May in which he said that he would appear before the SIT on Friday.

The video came out shortly after his grandfather, former Indian prime minister HD Deve Gowda, asked him to return to India and face the investigation.

Mr Revanna’s father, HD Revanna and uncle HD Kumaraswamy are both influential legislators in the Karnataka state assembly.

HD Revanna is also accused of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation in a police complaint lodged by a former employee of the family. He was arrested for six days but freed on bail last month. He has also denied the allegations, calling them a political conspiracy.

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