In a major embarrassment to the BJP, a CD has surfaced allegedly showing Udupi MLA K Raghupathy Bhat in an intimate position with an unidentified woman, prompting the two-time legislator to announce his decision not to contest the forthcoming Assembly election.
He said he does not want the party’s image to be dented, following the incident. The latest controversy could not have come at a worse time for the BJP, which is facing anti-incumbency and desertion by MLAs.
However, Bhat on Thursday claimed that he had decided not to contest the polls due to family reasons and the CD was a conspiracy by his detractors to tarnish his image and end his political career. The CD, which was accessed by a section of Kannada news channel, reportedly contains explicit scenes.
Bhat said his image had been morphed in the CD and demanded that Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar order a high-level inquiry into the episode.
Bhat said he would support and work for the BJP candidate from Udupi in the Assembly polls. He was in the news for the wrong reasons four years ago, when questions were raised over his alleged involvement in the disappearance and subsequent suicide of his wife Padmapriya at an apartment in New Delhi.
Another issue that dragged him to the controversy is the infamous rave party that was organised in the first week of February 2012, in St Mary’s Island. The issue totally cornered him in all angles for his involvement in organising the programme in the name of music concert. The programme was absolutely a rave party with uninterrupted supply of alcohol and drugs.
Speaking to reporters in Bangalore, BJP State president Pralhad Joshi said the party would order an internal inquiry into the veracity of the CD and take an appropriate decision. He said the development would not affect the image of the party or its poll prospects.
G K Somanath, judge of the 22nd Additional City Civil and Sessions Court in Bangalore, has issued an order restricting TV channels from telecasting the clippings. This followed an application filed in the court by Bhat, seeking an order to restrain TV channels from telecasting the contents of the CD.
Meanwhile, there were rumours that the BJP may field Shantha V Acharya, the widow of former minster V S Acharya from the Udupi seat. But, it is said that she may not agree to contest under these circumstances.
K Udayakumar Shetty, Udupi district unit president of the BJP, is another possible candidate. He was supposed to be the candidate for the byelection to the Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha seat. But, BJP State Youth Morcha president Sunil Kumar was fielded in the last moment. Shetty may get the nod this time, though he has not expressed his intention to contest. But, his supporters say he is keen on entering the fray.
Video shot in Mumbai on Feb 11?
The clippings showing MLA Raghupathy Bhat in an intimate position with a woman were reportedly shot in a Mumbai hotel owned by an Udupi industrialist on February 11. The woman is said to be a call girl from Nepal.
The clippings were being secretly watched on mobile phones in the town in the last two days. The CDs containing the video were also in circulation in a few cyber cafes of the town. The CDs were reportedly sent through courier to TV channel offices in Bangalore on Thursday.
People in the coastal region were in for a shock when private channels began telecasting the news about the CD at 10.30 am. The public became curious as most of the channels that aired the news said the videos in the CD were not worth telecasting as they were explicit sex scenes. One particular channel showed the clippings, but most places in Udupi do not have access to that channel.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Bhat said the CD was fake. He said he was upset as the news had tarnished his image and had embarrassed his family, especially his sons.