Karnataka to get minister facing criminal charges


Bangalore : A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator facing criminal charges of extortion and insulting the modesty of a woman is set to be become a minister in Karnataka Thursday.

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M.P. Renukacharya, a first-time legislator from Honnali in central Davangere district, about 270 km from here, will be sworn in Thursday at the Raj Bhavan, the official residence of the state governor.

Renukacharya is facing charges of extortion, breach of peace, criminal intimidation and insulting the modesty of a woman following a complaint by a nurse, Jayalakshmi, who alleged he had been sexually harassing her. She had claimed that her life was in danger from threats by the legislator.

The case has been pending since 2007 and a court had issued a non-bailable warrant against Renukacharya for repeated failure to attend the court when the case against him came up for hearing. Later, he avoided arrest by presenting himself in the court.

Jayalakshmi had also released photos showing Renukacharya hugging and kissing her and claimed that they were taken at gunpoint.

In April 2007, she was found unconscious in a car and told police that she had attempted suicide because of harassment by Renukacharya.

The legislator has denied the allegations and charged the opposition Congress with being behind the incident.

The case against him continues.

Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa is accommodating Renukacharya in the ministry to quell dissidence by the legislator.

Renukacharya was a vocal supporter of the October-November campaign by mining barons Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy to replace Yeddyurappa.

He was expecting to be made a minister after the Reddy brothers’ revolt ended with the intervention of senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

Since that did not happen, Renukacharya had been mobilizing BJP legislators unhappy with Yeddyurappa to pressure him for a ministerial berth.