‘Deve Gowda Like Dhritarashtra’: Son Revanna’s Family Faces Rape, Kidnap Cases, Will It Taint JDS Chief’s Legacy?

3 weeks ago

With the arrest of another member of HD Revanna’s family on charges of sexual abuse, the political legacy of the elder son of former Prime Minister and Janata Dal Secular (JDS) patriarch HD Deve Gowda seems to be tainted.

HD Revanna spent 10 days in jail after being accused of kidnapping and sexually molesting a house help. His wife, Bhavani, recently managed to get anticipatory bail from the Karnataka High court in a case of kidnapping a woman, who filed a First Information Report (FIR) alleging that Bhavani’s son Prajwal sexually assaulted her. Revanna’s son and Hassan MLC Suraj is the latest member of the Gowda family to be arrested in an alleged sexual assault case, after his brother Prajwal, who is under police custody for multiple FIRs of rape. Suraj has been accused of “forced unnatural sex" with a party worker.

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Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLC Adagur H. Vishwanath, who was the state president of the JDS in 2018, but stepped down due to internal differences, called the arrests of the Revannas a sign of “karma". “Deve Gowda is the Dhritarashtra in the family. He turns a blind eye, and only cares about furthering the political future of his family and not the people who have brought him to this position."

Political analysts say the JDS family is certainly in turmoil. Sandeep Shastri pointed out that while there may be a debate about whether the cases are true or false, the fact that members of a particular political family are being targeted remains significant. “There can be no smoke without fire, and the fact that they have enjoyed power and position for very long, in the process developing many friendships, alliances as well as earning enemies and brickbats, now comes down to roost," said Shastri.

He added that there seems to be a consolidation of circumstances where different members of the family are alleged to be involved in certain practices, and their political opponents will try to take advantage. “The whole game of seeking political advantage is not the cause, but a consequence," he added.

SURAJ REVANNA’S CASE

The Karnataka police booked Suraj and his close aide Shivakumar after an FIR by a JDS party worker, alleging that the MLC forcefully stripped and sexually assaulted him on June 16 at a farmhouse in Gannikada village in Hassan. He alleged that Suraj asked him to “meet him whenever he’s free" and messaged him on WhatsApp. The complainant recounted his horror to the police, stating how he had been given an appointment with the MLC as he wanted to work for the party. Upon reaching the farmhouse at the appointed time, he was asked to close the door and sit. In graphic detail, the complainant mentioned how Suraj caressed him and began fondling him, despite his repeated protests.

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Promising him a bright career in the party and full support, the survivor was allegedly dragged onto the bed, sexually assaulted and forced to participate in anal and oral sex. “I fell at his feet, begged him to leave me alone, said I was not comfortable, but he said it would get better with time and that all those who want to grow have to go through such things in life," said a detailed complaint letter that was sent by the survivor to the Karnataka Home Minister and Director General of Police (DGP). After a medical examination of the survivor and other mandatory checks, the complaint was converted into an FIR, which led to the arrest.

The survivor had messaged Suraj on June 17, the night after the alleged assault, that his life had been ruined by his forced sexual act and that he was extremely hurt and upset. In the exchange of messages, he said that he had confessed to his family what took place between them and since then has been scared to go back home.

SURAJ’S AIDE SHIVAKUMAR’S ROLE

The survivor had also messaged Shivakumar separately and asked him to provide support. The aide is said to have met the survivor around midnight, asked him to accept compensation and cautioned him against filing a police case against Suraj or face death.

A series of phone calls and messages, including one from Suraj, pressured the survivor to accept Rs 2 crore and a job offer for his silence. He was warned about going to a hospital for treatment and was told that the aide would come with him and pay for his bills. He refused the offer and, fearing for his life, fled to his paternal uncle’s house. The survivor was tracked down on June 9 and again threatened by Shivakumar to accept the offer or face a case of extortion. This was the case of extortion that Shivakumar filed on June 22 against the survivor and his brother-in-law. In a counter-complaint, the survivor accused Suraj of sexually assaulting him.

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Somehow, during the course of the meeting, the survivor managed to leave the place without being noticed and fled to Bengaluru. He filed a complaint with the Karnataka Home Minister and DGP with photographs of both Suraj and Shivakumar.

Suraj’s aide claimed in his FIR that the survivor tried to befriend Suraj by becoming a member of the ‘Suraj Revanna Brigade’ and later threatened to accuse Suraj of sexual assault, initially demanding Rs 5 crore. Shivakumar claimed that later the amount was reduced to Rs 2 crore, but the MLC did not budge as the claims were false. The Hassan police then filed a case against the survivor and his relative under Indian Penal Code sections 384 (extortion), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention). Both Shivakumar and Suraj have now been arrested.

PRAJWAL’S CASE

Prajwal was arrested on May 31 after three women filed FIRs against the former Hassan MP, stating they were sexually assaulted multiple times by the leader. Pen drives containing over 2,000 clips of various women in compromising positions, which the survivors claim were forced as they were blackmailed and threatened, were circulated across Hassan district just days before the seat went to polls during the Lok Sabha elections.

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PARTY LEADERS MUM

As a political party, the JDS has decided to react only after the investigation into the case is completed. Speaking to News18, JDS MLC and spokesperson TA Saravana said that the party core committee will soon sit down to decide on the actions to be taken against Suraj Revanna.

“This is a political conspiracy against the JDS. Our opponents are targeting Hassan and are coming out with such unsavoury and filthy allegations, which we will wait for the law to address and give us justice," he said.

Saravana added that the senior JDS leaders are very upset with the developments and have been observing how the Gowda family’s political opponents are targeting each member one by one, starting with Prajwal.

“We believe in God, the legal system and our leader Deve Gowda ji. He is right now going through unbearable pain to see what is happening within his family. Let’s wait and see how the investigation progresses," Saravana said.

Still under shock and fearing being targeted or facing the wrath of the Revannas, JDS party workers have been largely mum about the issue. However, after much persuasion, a JDS local leader opened up to News18, saying, “This is definitely a major sign of the end of the Revanna family’s political future. The truth is being unearthed, and the filth and horror of the family, which kept a firm control over Hassan, is now out in the open. We only hope the victims get justice."

KARMA, SAYS BJP MLC

Calling the arrests of the Revanna “karma", Vishwanath said there was no political conspiracy to finish the Revanna legacy. “There is no political conspiracy against them. These are the fruits of their karma. Time brings out all truth; let’s wait and see what happens."

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