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Lawmaker accused of rape arrested upon landing in India

The suspended MP had fled to Germany after hundreds of explicit videos were leaked online amid the ongoing election

A member of the Indian parliament, from the southern Indian state of Karnataka, was arrested upon landing in the country in the early hours of Friday. Prajwal Revanna, who is accused of rape, fled the country in April, after nearly 3,000 videos allegedly showing him sexually abusing women surfaced last month amid the ongoing election.

Revanna, 33, is a leader of the Janata Dal (Secular) party, founded by former Chief Minister HD Deve Gowda. The party suspended him days after the videos were leaked, prompting an investigation.

Earlier this week, Revanna broke his silence on the case, releasing a video statement in which he called the allegations against him false and part of a “political conspiracy.” He promised to return to India and appear before a special investigation team set up by the state government.

Karnataka is ruled by the Congress Party, the main opposition in the federal government, and its allies.

Revanna flew from Munich, Germany to Bengaluru, Karnataka, where he was handed over to police officials waiting at the airport. A day earlier, he filed an anticipatory bail application in a court in Bengaluru.

India’s Foreign Ministry has said it has initiated the process of canceling Revanna’s diplomatic passport and has sent him a show-cause notice. “We are waiting for a response and will further action as per the rules,” the ministry’s spokesperson said at a briefing in New Delhi on Thursday.

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Protest against the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman in Uttar Pradesh state in New Delhi on October 4, 2020.
Passport to rape: How a politician accused of assaulting hundreds of women could ensure his victims stay silent

Last week, the chief minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting that Revanna’s passport be canceled, compelling him to return to the country and face charges.

The controversy erupted last month after thousands of videos were leaked days before the election in his constituency, Hassan, which purportedly showed the MP forcing himself on women.

In the days that followed, several women accused the politician of sexual assault. The videos sparked outrage in the country – and a massive political row as Revanna’s party, the Janata Dal (Secular), joined the National Democratic Alliance, a political bloc led by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and spearheaded by Modi ahead of the general election. The prime minister has campaigned alongside Janata Dal leaders, including Revanna, in Karnataka. The BJP has since sought to distance itself from the controversy.

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May 31, 2024 at 01:04PM
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