Ex-Indian PM’s grandson accused of filming ‘hundreds’ of videos of sexual assault

Ex-Indian PM’s grandson accused of filming ‘hundreds’ of videos of sexual assault

The grandson of a former prime minister of India is under investigation for allegedly sexually abusing hundreds of women in the southern state of Karnataka.

Prajwal Revanna, 33, is the grandson of ex-prime minister HD Deve Gowda and an outgoing member of the lower house of parliament (Lok Sabha) from Hassan district.

He is seeking a second term as an MP in the ongoing seven-phase general election for his Janata Dal (Secular) Party – a key ally of the incumbent prime minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Thousands of alleged sex tapes featuring Mr Revanna began circulating just a day after half of the state voted in the general elections on Friday.

The Karnataka state government has formed a "special investigation team in connection with Prajwal Revanna's obscene video case", chief minister Siddaramaiah from the rival Congress party said in a statement.

"Obscene video clips are circulating ... where it appears that women have been sexually assaulted," he added.

Mr Revanna was suspended from the party on Tuesday until the end of the sexual abuse probe. He has left the country and is believed to be in Germany, according to local reports.

The state police on Sunday registered a case against Mr Revanna based on the statement of a woman who worked in his family home, and also named his father, HD Revanna, as a suspect.

"I will not react about anything," his father, a member of the Karnataka legislative assembly, told reporters on Monday. "Since this has been handed over to a special investigation team, I will not say anything that will affect it," he said.

"He had to go on a trip and he has gone ... He will come when he is called to join the investigation."

The 47-year-old complainant reportedly worked as a cook for the Revanna family and identified as a cousin of the MP's mother.

She said she decided to file a complaint after clips of other women being subjected to abuse began circulating on the internet.

"When I joined, six other maids would say they were scared of Prajwal. The male employees, too, would ask us to be wary of Mr Revanna and his son, Prajwal," she said in her complaint.

"Whenever his wife was away, [HD] Revanna would repeatedly touch me inappropriately, disrobe me and sexually assault me. While I was working in the kitchen, Prajwal would grope me from behind," she added.

The police case against the MP and his father has been registered on charges ofsexual harassment, intimidation and outraging the dignity of a woman.

Nagalakshmi Choudhary, the chair of the Karnataka State Commission for Women, said the "obscene videos" row involving the MP was the biggest scandal of the country.

"I wrote to CM and SIT was constituted. The pen drive that I have received has hundreds of videos. In a few videos, it is visible that the person is Prajwal Revanna," Ms Choudhary was quoted by NDTV as saying.

The sexual abuse row, which has turned into a political slugfest, began when more than 2,000 pen drives were circulated ahead of Friday's election.

"The pen drives were kept on bus seats, at bus stands and were given to people in public places like parks," an official told The Indian Express. "These pen drives had more than 2,000 files which included videos and photos. After a few hours, we saw these being widely shared on WhatsApp."

Mr Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP has distanced itself from the controversy, saying: "We, as a party, have nothing to do with the videos and neither do we have any comments to make on the SIT probe announced by the state government into the alleged sex scandal involving Prajwal Revanna."

Jayant Singh, MP and leader of Rashtriya Lok Dal, in a post on X said: "The Karnataka expose is shocking! Law should take its course and exemplary punishment given to the accused if they are guilty of such heinous crimes against women."

Federal home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday accused the state government and the Congress party of not taking action over the allegations against Mr Revanna.

“We do not have to take action on this as this is a law and order issue of the state. The state government has to take action on it," he said.

The Independent has reached out to Karnataka police for a comment.