BJP warned about Prajwal Revanna videos months ago, still gave him Hassan ticket

A three-member SIT has been formed to investigate the case in which JD(S) MP Prajwal Revanna has been accused of sexually abusing women in Hassan district, where videos of such women performing sexual acts have been circulating for months.
BJP warned about Prajwal Revanna videos months ago, still gave him Hassan ticket
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A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader from Karnataka’s Hassan district had warned the state leadership about allegations that Prajwal Revanna was sexually abusing women, months before his name was announced as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate for the Hassan seat. Prajwal of Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)) is the Hassan MP and grandson of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, son of Holenarsipura MLA HD Revanna, and nephew of party chief HD Kumaraswamy. 

G Devaraje Gowda, who was the BJP’s Holenarsipura candidate during the 2023 Assembly elections, had written to state president BY Vijayendra on December 8, 2023, warning against nominating Prajwal. The same day he also wrote a letter to BL Santosh, senior Rastriya Swayamsevak Sangh Pracharak and National General Secretary (Org), BJP.

The BJP and JD(S) announced their Lok Sabha alliance in September last year and in March this year named Prajwal as their candidate for Hassan. Devaraje Gowda wrote that “there are grave allegations against several leaders of the HD Deve Gowda family (including Prajwal Revanna, the NDA candidate) of the JD(S), the party that we are in alliance with.”

He claimed that he had received a pen drive containing 2,976 videos of women (including government officials) performing sexual acts, which were then being used to blackmail them into continuing to engage in sexual activities. He also claimed that another pen drive containing these videos and photos had reached national leaders of the Congress. Many activists TNM spoke to said that the number mentioned by Devaraje was an exaggeration, however there were multiple tapes and a few instances were cases of assault. 

“If we align with the JD(S) and if we nominate a JD(S) candidate in Hassan for the Lok Sabha elections, these videos can be used as a brahmastra and we will be tainted as a party that aligned with the family of a rapist. This will be a big blow to the image of our party nationally,” Devaraje Gowda said in the letter, and urged Vijayendra to bring this information to the attention of national leaders and convince them not to align with HD Revanna’s family in Hassan district.

SIT formed 

The state government, on Sunday, April 28, announced the members of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that would investigate the case. It will be headed by BK Singh, Additional Directorate General Immigration and Passports (DG-IP), with Suman D Pennekar, DG Crime Investigation Department (DG CID), and Seema Latkar, Mysuru district Superintendent of Police (SP) as members.

A complaint was registered with the Holenarsipura Town police station on April 28 under sections 354A (sexual harassment), 354D (stalking), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 509 (outraging modesty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). All first information reports (FIRs) connected with this case will be investigated by the SIT, which will function under the CID. Sections of the Information Technology Act, which pertain to publishing or transmitting “obscene material” electronically, privacy, publishing and transmitted sexually explicit content have not been invoked.


The Congress staged protests against Prajwal on April 28 while rights groups in Hassan district are coming together under the banner of Hassana District Janapara Chalavali Okkoota to stage a protest in Hassan on April 29.

Author Rupa Hassan, who is associated with the protest, told TNM that they did not have permission to protest before the polls were held. “The government should not use the SIT as an excuse to delay the investigation. Prajwal Revanna has left the country. We want him arrested. We also want the case to be monitored by the courts,” Rupa said. 

The Prime Minister addressed rallies in Belagavi on April 28, where he maintained the rhetoric that the Congress would snatch the mangalsutras of women and redistribute that wealth to “its favourite community”. He also mentioned the murder of Neha Hiremath. However, he was silent on the serious allegations of sex abuse against Prajwal.

Congress leaders also held a press conference on April 28, questioning not only the PM’s silence, but also the lack of statements from Karnataka BJP leaders such as Shobha Karandlaje, R Ashoka, and BY Vijayendra.

Congress leader Manjula Naidu told the media that the government should offer protection to the victims and that the perpetrators should get the strictest punishment. “Prime Minister Modi should feel ashamed. He says the Congress will snatch women’s mangalsutras… Modi avare, the candidate of your alliance partner has snatched the mangasutras of thousands of women. Why are you silent about that? Withdraw your statement about the snatching of mangalsutras and apologise. All the leaders of the BJP and JD(S) should resign,” she said. 

State Information Technology and Bio Technology Minister Priyank Kharge also posed questions to the PM, asking him to explain why the NDA gave ticket to Prajwal, despite knowing about the allegations. 

Nagalakshmi Choudhary, chairperson of the Women’s Rights Commission, told the media that she had received a complaint from one of the women via WhatsApp on April 27. To a question, she said that the women’s panel was only a recommendation body with “its own limitations” and that the SIT would investigate the case.

‘Let the truth come out’ 

JD(S) leaders, including HD Kumaraswamy, spoke to the media on April 28. Kumaraswamy said that the law of the land punished wrongdoers. “We don’t forgive wrongdoers under any circumstances. Whether it’s me or HD Deve Gowda, we have always treated any woman who has come to us for help with the utmost respect. We have the utmost respect for women,” he said.  Saying he had nothing to do with Prajwal leaving the country, Kumaraswamy said, “If he has escaped, let the SIT find him and bring him back. Let the truth come out.”

GT Devegowda, president of the JD(S) core committee, told the media in Bengaluru, “I don’t know what has happened. The CID, SIT are all in the hands of the government. Let the truth come out through an investigation. No one is trying to hide the truth. Whether it’s my son or brother who commits it, a wrong is a wrong. We are not saying that no wrong has occurred,” he said. To a question, he said the senior party leaders will take a decision on Prajwal’s expulsion from the party.

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