Andhra Pradesh Endowments Minister Manikyala Rao found himself in the centre of a controversy on Wednesday after he backed tainted Telugu singer Ghazal Srinivas, who has been accused of sexual harassment.
Alleging a 'conspiracy', the Minister said that he suspected foul play in the police case filed by a woman, and said that he had a long association with Srinivas.
Srinivas was not a person who harasses women, the Minister claimed.
Addressing reporters on Wednesday, the Minister had said, "I know Ghazal since he was a young person, and I have seen him grow. I have complete faith in his character. "
However, the Minister was forced to take back his words on Thursday, after seeing a video that was leaked to the media, that showed him in 'compromising' positions.
"No matter what post one person holds, there is a need to condemn such incidents. Whatever I spoke yesterday, was wrong. I did not expect that even someone who holds such a high post, would stoop to such a low level," he told reporters on Thursday.
"I was troubled after watching the video and photos, and I demand that the police must take strict action against him," he added.
"I did not know the whole story. When my reporter friends showed me, I was very hurt. I withdraw all my earlier comments, and hope that justice prevails for all the women who were harassed by him. Similarly, all governments must take strict action in such cases," the BJP leader said.
Earlier this week, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation and Save Temples Organisation suspended Srinivas as their brand ambassador following his arrest on charges of sexually harassing one of the women employees at its India office in Hyderabad.
Ghazal Srinivas, whose real name is Kesiraju Srinivas, was arrested by Hyderabad police on charges of sexually harassing a woman, working as jockey for a web radio 'Alayavani' (voice of temples) run by Save Temples Organisation.
The woman complained that Srinivas, who is popular for singing ghazals in Telugu, was harassing her for the last few months. A court later sent the singer to 14-day judicial custody till January 12.
The survivor had submitted videos of Srinivas sexually harassing women employees to the police. Based on the video evidence, police filed a case on December 29 and arrested him on December 2.