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India seeks Interpol’s help to track down politician facing sexual assault charges

MP Prajwal Revanna fled the country after almost 3,000 videos featuring 300 women were made public

Indian officials are seeking Interpol’s help to bring Prajwal Revanna back to the country to face trial. The member of parliament allegedly fled to Germany using his diplomatic passport after allegations of sexual assault were made against him.

On Sunday, the home minister of the southern Indian state of Karnataka, G. Parameshwara, announced that a Blue Corner notice – an instrument used by Interpol to share alerts and requests for information worldwide – was issued against Revanna by the state government. The notice authorizes Interpol to collect information about a person’s identity, location, or activities related to a criminal investigation.

Revanna, the 33-year-old grandson of former Indian Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda, is a sitting member of the Indian Parliament and is running in the ongoing parliamentary election from Karnataka. 

He is being investigated on charges of sexually assaulting hundreds of women over several years. Nearly 2,900 explicit videos allegedly recorded by Revanna to blackmail his victims surfaced last month, triggering an investigation. Several cases were registered by police against him last week

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Prajwal Revanna at a joint coordination meeting of JDS-BJP parties in Araseikere Assembly Constituency of our Hassan Lok Sabha Constituency was held in the wake of the general election on April 3, 2024.
Indian lawmaker suspended from party over ‘sex tapes’

Some of the clips surfaced online days before voting was held in Hassan, his constituency. Revanna initially claimed that the videos being circulated were “morphed” and aim to “tarnish his image and poison the minds of voters,” in a police complaint cited by Indian media. However, news18 reported on Monday that Prajwal has been advised to surrender by his lawyer and his father, H.D. Revanna, who is also a member of the Karnataka state Legislative Assembly from the same party. 

On Sunday, H.D. Revanna was arrested in an abduction case for allegedly orchestrating the kidnapping of one of the victims of his son. He was remanded in three-day police custody of the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is investigating the father-son duo. The woman once worked at the Revannas’ farmhouse and claimed she was sexually assaulted, Indian media reported. The woman was tracked down to a Revanna aide’s house in Hunsur, Karnataka.

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The Revannas head the Janata Dal (Secular) party, a key ally of the PM Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the ongoing general election.

The episode has sparked a massive political row in the state and across the country. The BJP, which jointly campaigned with the JD(S) in Karnataka, has sought to distance itself from the scandal.

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