Days after being caught in middle of an alleged sex scandal, Karnataka's Water Resources Minister Ramesh Jarkiholi said on Tuesday that the video was a part of a 'political conspiracy' and he knew about it months earlier.
During a press conference at his residence held just a few hours ago, a teary-eyed Jarkiholi said, "The video and CD are fake and it is a conspiracy against me. I am innocent."
"I knew about the CD four months ago and it was discussed a couple of times with my brother (Balachandra Jarkiholi) that I have done nothing wrong," he added.
"The person in the video is not me. I was informed by the high command that such allegations might be leveled against me and advised to take legal help. Even then I said I will fight the allegations," Jarkiholi said further.
Everything was paid
Last Tuesday, a police complaint was registered against Jarkiholi which alleged sexual harassment of an unidentified woman, whom the minister had promised of offering a government job in return for satisfying his sexual needs and later issuing threats to her as well as her family of dire consequences in case of denial.
Local news channels widely aired the video clip that showed the minister in a compromising position with a woman.
Jarkiholi has repeatedly refuted the charges, stressing that approximately Rs 20 crore was spent to create the controversy which took place in two locations, namely Yeshwantpur and Hulimavu in Bengaluru.
"I have information that the girl involved in the CD has given Rs 5 crore and two flats in foreign countries. The deal to conspire against me was conducted in the flat near Orion mall in Yeshwanthpur. This is to tarnish my image and political career," he told the press.
"I don't even know the woman and the complainant. I was in Mysuru and went to Chamundeshwari Temple. I do not even know what that video is about because I never spoke to that woman. I am going to meet my high command to convey a clarification about the alleged video. I will resign from my MLA post and quit politics if these allegations are proven against me. It is a serious allegation against me. I have spoken to the Chief Minister and I will also seek action against the culprits. A thorough investigation must be conducted into this issue," Jarkiholi added.
Time for assembly elections
The video has been released at a time when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is gearing up for elections in four states and one Union Territory across the country.
Jarkiholi, who resigned on March 3, stated that he did not wish to tarnish the image of the government for his own reasons. "Nobody asked me to resign, I resigned on my own will to avoid embarrassment to the party and the government I worked so hard to bring to power. I have no enemies in Congress as well," he added.
An emotional Jarkiholi said that his family's honour has already been damaged due to the charges and vowed to send the conspirators behind bars. "I will not spare them," he said.
Concluding, the former minister also thanked former Chief Minister and JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy for their support in "times of need".