The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Karnataka police on Thursday filed a charge sheet against former Karnataka chief minister and senior BJP leader BS Yediyurappa for the alleged sexual assault of a minor who visited his home with her mother to seek help in a case of sexual assault on the minor that reportedly occurred in 2015.

The CID filed the chargesheet in a fast track court designated for cases filed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act, 2012, on Thursday evening.

The 81-year-old former CM has been charged for sexual assault under Section 8 of the POCSO Act, for sexual harassment under Section 354 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, for destroying evidence under IPC Section 204 and for offering gifts to cover up an offense under Section 214.

Three associates of the former CM — Arun YM, Rudresh M, and Y Mariswamy — are also accused in the case under Sections 204 and 214 of the IPC for destroying evidence of a video recording by the victim’s mother of her confrontation with Yediyurappa after the alleged incident.

The chargesheet was filed by the CID a day ahead of a high court hearing of a petition filed by Yediyurappa for quashing of the FIR registered against him on March 14 for the alleged incident of sexual assault of a teenager on February 2, 2024.

Festive offer

The Karnataka High Court on June 14 directed the CID not to arrest Yediyurappa on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the POCSO court on June 13 by pointing out that the former CM was no “Tom, Dick or Harry” and that he had agreed to appear before the CID on June 17 to participate in investigations as sought by the CID.

Yediyurappa has filed pleas in the High Court seeking anticipatory bail in the POCSO case and also the quashing of the FIR on account of a delay in the filing of the police complaint. The victim’s 54-year-old mother, who filed the FIR, passed away on May 26 while battling cancer. Her son filed a petition in the Karnataka High Court on June 10 questioning the slow progress in the probe.

The accusation

According to the police complaint filed by the victim’s mother on March 14, she visited the home of Yediyurappa on February 2, 2024, with her daughter to seek justice in an earlier case of sexual assault by a relative on her daughter when the incident occurred.

Later on February 20 when she uploaded a video of her confrontation with the former CM over the incident on social media, the former CM is alleged to have sent his associates to call the mother and daughter to delete the video recordings. Yediyurappa is alleged to have told his associate Rudresh to pay Rs 2 lakh cash to the victim’s mother to silence them.

The investigation

After the case was registered, the CID summoned Yediyurappa on April 12 and he appeared for questioning and also provided the voice samples for the investigations.

The CID summoned Yediyurappa again on June 12 for investigations but the former CM told the agency that he would be away in Delhi on party work and would be available only on June 17. The CID subsequently obtained a non-bailable arrest warrant on June 13 for the arrest of the former CM and this was challenged in the High Court by Yediyurappa.

The CID told the High Court that it has gathered evidence of the occurrence of the alleged incident in the course of investigations, including the statement of the victim under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, statements of other witnesses as well as data retrieved from a mobile phone on which the recordings of evidence pertaining to the incident was done.

Arrest put on hold

On June 14, the High Court put the arrest on hold on account of Yediyurappa indicating that he will participate in the investigation on June 17. The High Court, however, refused to stay the investigation.

The court noted that Yediyurappa “a former Chief Minister of the State for multiple times, who is now an octogenarian, shall not be arrested when he appears before the police and cooperates in the investigation process”.

“He is not any Tom, Dick and Harry. He is not a bandicoot. He is the former chief minister of the state. Is it your case that he will flee away from the country by going to Delhi? So many things are taking shape in the political arena. He will come back. What will he be able to do going to Delhi?,” the high court single judge bench of Justice S Krishna Dixit asked the state Advocate General during the course of the hearing on June 14.

What Yediyurappa said

The former Karnataka CM Yediyurappa has refuted the allegations of sexual harassment and said that he had helped the mother and daughter in the past.

“There is no prima facie material on record which discloses that the petitioner has committed the alleged offense of sexual assault,” states the petition filed by Yediyurappa for quashing of the POCSO case FIR registered against him.

The former CM has claimed that the case is politically motivated and that there was over a month’s delay in its filing.

“Around one or one and a half months ago they came to my house seeking help. After listening to her, I called city police commissioner, B Dayananda, over the phone seeking to address her problem. Later, they spoke against me and I then suspected there was some health problem with her,” Yediyurappa said in a reaction to the FIR in March this year.