Karnataka’s minister of co-operation ST Somashekar is the latest BJP bigwig to face the ‘CD heat’. His son Nishanth complained to Bengaluru city police that the son of a powerful astrologer was blackmailing him with footage purportedly featuring him with a model. The police have arrested a young man, Rahul Bhat, in connection with the scandal.
According to Nishanth, Bhat had sent him a video, threatening to expose his dalliances with a model if he did not pay Rs 1 crore. He claims that the video is doctored and it is not him in that seedy footage.
Speaking to the media he said, “I am with the BJP. The people who are against me are doing this to tarnish my image and my father’s reputation. I have nothing to do with it.”
The main accused Bhat’s father is a well-known astrologer in Karnataka. His close association with the who’s who of the state is an open secret. He was even raided by the income tax department in 2008.
Congress MLA Yashawantharaya Gouda Patil from Indi in Vijayapura district has also fallen into trouble as the accused has used a mobile SIM card belonging to his daughter. The MLA has dismissed the charges saying his daughter is abroad and before going there she had given the SIM to a friend called Rakesh and he seems to have misused it. The police are verifying the claims.
An embarrassed BJP high command has reportedly sought a detailed report from minister Somashekar about the whole issue.
Interestingly, Somashekar is one of the six ministers in Karnataka who has got a court stay against the airing of ‘CDs’ purportedly featuring them. After senior minister Ramesh Jarkhiholi resigned over a leaked video of him with a young woman, they rushed to court to get a stay, triggering a huge controversy in Karnataka.
The state BJP has a history of its leaders getting caught in compromising positions. During BS Yediyurappa’s second term between 2008-2011, two of his MLAs were in such controversies.
After the BJP returned to power through ‘Operation Lotus’ in July 2018, MLA and former minister Kalakappa Bandi had complained that he was honey-trapped. After that, the Jarkiholi case rocked the state and six of his cabinet colleagues went to court to get a stay against the releasing of CDs purportedly featuring them. Interestingly, all are Congress turncoats who defected to the BJP to topple the JD(S)-Congress government in the state.
Chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has ordered a thorough probe into the latest scandal. The opposition Congress has demanded Somashekar’s sacking on moral grounds.