Karnataka excise minister Meti accused of seeking sexual favours

Bengaluru,Dec13:A senior minister in the Siddaramaiah cabinet in Karnataka has been accused of seeking sex in return for favours in the first such scandal to hit the three-and-a-half year old Congress government in the state.

Excise minister, H. Y. Meti, 71, is considered to be a close associate of Mr Siddaramaiah and belongs to the Kuruba community like the CM. He is the only other Kuruba in the cabinet.

 Television channels ran different versions of the story with one channel showing the woman, with a partially masked face, claiming to be the one in the purported CD, which appeared on a private Kannada channel saying Mr Meti demanded sexual favours in return for carrying out a transfer in his department.

On another channel, a woman named Vijaylakshmi took the news anchor to task for unnecessarily dragging her name and that of the minister into the scandal. “I know him personally, he is not like that. You (anchor) cannot accuse him of such a scandal that, too linking my name with him,” she shot back, when the anchor sought her response, with the accused minister too on another telephone line.

Earlier, Mr Meti had got embroiled in another controversy after RTI activist from Ballari, Rajashekar Molali, released an audio file of a phone conversation he had with a person named Subash, who claimed to be close to Mr Meti. In this conversation, Mr Subash repeatedly refers to a video CD of the minister’s sexual escapades and threatens Mr Molali that this should not be released.

Mr Subhash also offers to resolve the crisis by offering  a monetary deal to prevent release of the CD.

Meanwhile speaking to reporters in Ballari after filing a complaint with the police, Mr Molali said, “I do not have the CD. I think the matter should come out in the public and the minister should resign. I am not connected with any political party, I am an anti-corruption activist and a follower of Anna Hazare,” he contended.

Meanwhile, reacting cautiously, KPCC president, Dr G. Parameshwar said the party will take action if the charges against the minister are found valid. “Let the investigations be completed and the truth come out, I do not wish to make any statement against the minister,” he said.

Speaking to reporters in his home district, Bagalakote, excise minister Meti rebutted the allegations. “I am ready for any type of investigation. Let them release the CD. I have not done anything wrong. I don’t know this Mr Molali and nobody has threatened him. I am old, does that mean I cannot sleep? A video can be taken anywhere, even inside my house when I am with my wife. As far as Ms  Vijaylakshmi’s name being linked with me, it is nothing but an absurdity. She is my relative, I know her for years. She does work in Ayush, but it does not mean that I have a relationship with her,” he snapped.