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Karnataka Excise Minister resigns over sex scandal, CM orders probe

Karnataka Excise Minister resigns over sex scandal, CM orders probe

New Delhi: Stung by an alleged sex CD scandal, Karnataka Excise Minister HY Meti resigned on Wednesday with government ordering a CID probe into the entire purported episode over the charge that he sought sexual favour from a woman in return for help.

Meti’s exit came days after the alleged scandal erupted with the 71-year-old minister, considered close to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, submitting his resignation to him, saying he was doing so of his own accord to avoid embarrassment to the government. Siddaramaiah said he has accepted the resignation and ordered a CID inquiry into the entire purported episode. He said, “Mr H Y Meti, Minister for Excise, voluntarily submitted his resignation to me. I have recommended his resignation to His Excellency Governor of Karnataka for acceptance. I have also entrusted the entire episode to CID and (asked it) give a report as early as possile, to know the truth about the incident.” “Meti is claiming it is a conspiracy, he is not involved in such an incident and has totally denied it. That is why I am entrusting the matter to CID to inquire into it,” said Siddaramaiah, who was under Opposition pressure to drop Meti.

On allegations that he was in the know of the alleged incident but was trying to shield the Minister, he said “It is totally false. If I was aware I would have taken action immediately. I was not aware…” Meti said he resigned of his own volition to avoid any embarrassment to the government and the Chief Minister. “I have done nothing wrong. I have requested the Chief Minister to hold an inquiry,” Meti, who has been rubbishing the allegations against him, told reporters after submitting his resignation.

Meti, considered close to Siddaramaiah from his Janata Dal days, was given a cabinet berth in June this year, when 14 ministers were dropped and 13 others inducted in a bid to give a face-lift to his more than three-year-old government. The alleged scandal has come as a huge embarrassment to the Congress government, close on the heels of another controversy stirred by Minister Tanvir Sait after video footage emerged showing him purportedly watching pictures of skimpily clad girls on his mobile on dais at a public function recently.

The controversy involving Meti has been brewing since Sunday after RTI activist Rajashekar Mulali accused him of seeking sexual favour from a woman in return for help. There are contradictory reports about the woman allegedly involved as multiple videos have emerged with her claiming to be the Minister’s relative in one and retracting from it in another.

Mulali had also claimed that some supporters of Meti had threatened him not to release the CD. An audio tape had surfaced in connection with the alleged sex CD where a man claiming to be a supporter of Meti is heard threatening the RTI activist. Speaking to reporters in Delhi, Mulali said he has information about more such incidents involving a couple of Ministers and at least three MLAs.

Reacting to this, Siddaramaiah said “I don’t know, let him release.” Earlier Meti had rejected reports on the alleged CD, calling it false. He had also said none of his supporters had threatened the RTI activist.