Is there a tape? Is there not a tape? Well, who cares. Kannada channels are busy with tales of a sex scandal allegedly involving a minister from Siddaramaiah's cabinet.
Just last month, senior cabinet minister, Tanveer Sait, was accused of watching porn during a Tipu Jayanti event. After calls of resignation from the opposition, the police finally said that the minister had been looking at pictures of Melania Trump.
Now, state Excise Minister, HY Meti, has landed in another controversy.
Kannada news channel BTV interviewed a woman with her face partially covered, who alleged that 71-year-old Meti had demanded sexual favours in return for carrying out transfers in his department.
Later, a man appeared on Public TV, with his face covered, and claimed that the woman was his wife. He also that the sex tape had not caused any rift in his marriage. He also said that he has not spoken with his wife since the news broke as his wifeâ€™s phone is switched off. He said that she had gone to visit her relative three days ago.
Various Kannada TV channels ran different versions of the story on Sunday. In one of the versions, the woman whose name is believed to be Vijayalakshmi, lashed out at the anchor of a TV channel for dragging her into the scandal and for accusing her of performing such an act with Meti, who is her relative. She also says that Meti would never perform such an act.
The controversy started with an RTI activist from Bellary, Rajashekar Molali claiming that he had seen the sex tape. Molali however said that he did not have possession of the tape.
In the audio clip, Molali was in conversation with a man named Subash (who purportedly works with Meti), who mentions a CD regarding Metiâ€™s sexual escapades. In the audio file, Subash can be heard offering a financial compensation and also threatening Mohaliâ€™s life if the CD was released, media reports suggest.
â€śI do not have the CD, I was just shown it. I think the matter should come out in the public and that the minister should resign. I am not connected with any political party, I am an anti-corruption activist and a follower of Anna Hazare,â€ť he is quoted as saying by the Economic Times.
Meti rubbished the allegations while speaking to media persons in Bagalkot and said that that he did not know who Molali or Subash were and that he had never met them.
â€śI am ready for any kind of investigation. Let them release the CD. I have not done anything wrong. I saw Rajashekar for the first time on TV. A video can be taken anywhere, even inside my house when I am with my wife. As far as Vijayalakshmi is concerned, she is my relative and I have known her for years. That does not mean that I will have such a relationship with her,â€ť an angry Meti lashed out at mediapersons on Sunday evening.
Molali filed a complaint with the Bellary police for harassment and criminal intimidation on Sunday evening.
Molali has requested to meet the home Minister Dr G Parameshwara on Monday. â€śIf my request comes through, I will meet him and discuss a few things. Based on that discussion, I will decide my course of action. If I am not allowed to meet Parameshwara, I will approach AICC, there are courts that can help me. I will give further details only after meeting the Home Minister,â€ť Mohali told mediapersons on Monday.