A memory chip which was recovered from a damaged mobile phone by forensic experts in Gujarat is among the key evidence gathered by the Karnataka Police in a case of the sexual assault of a minor registered against senior BJP leader and former chief minister BS Yediyurappa.

According to sources, the phone was assumed to be destroyed but its memory chip containing “the full original video” was recovered during the probe by experts. The phone was used by the mother of the victim to record a video of her confronting Yediyurappa, 81, at his residence on February 2, 2024, over the alleged incident of assault on her daughter by the senior politician. The woman confronted the former chief minister after her daughter reported the matter to her.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) filed a chargesheet in the case on June 27 under Section 8 (sexual assault) of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (Pocso) Act, 2012, Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 354 A for sexual harassment. and sections 204 and 214 for destroying evidence and offering gifts to silence the victim against Yediyurappa and three of his associates.

The mobile phone, being used by the victim and on which the confrontation of Yediyurappa by her mother was recorded on the day of the incident, is among the key pieces of evidence documented in the chargesheet, CID sources said. The charge sheet runs into 730 pages and has the statements of 76 witnesses.

One of the reasons cited by CID for the delay in the filing of the chargesheet, which is required to be filed in 60 days of the filing of an FIR, and the initiation of the arrest procedures against Yediyurappa in the Pocso case, is the time taken to recover the memory chip of this phone.

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“There was no facility in Karnataka to recover the memory chip from the half-burnt phone. There were chances of the memory chip getting damaged. Only the Gujarat FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) had the facility to recover the chip. They recovered the chip and sent it on May 13,” CID informed the Karnataka High Court on June 14 during a hearing of a plea by Yediyurappa to quash the case.

“The memory chip that was recovered from the damaged phone was transplanted into another device for recovery of the full video (recorded on the day of the incident) at the Karnataka FSL. This is among the key technical evidence in the case,” said a CID source.

While the victim’s mother had deleted the video of her confrontation with Yediyurappa from her phone and her social media account at the insistence of the former CM’s aides a few days after the incident, the original video remained on the device used by the victim on which incident. had been secretly recorded. “The phone was assumed to be damaged since it had stopped working but the memory chip was recovered,” said a source.

CID has also found voice sample matches between the voice of Yediyurappa and the voice heard in the video during the confrontation with the victim’s mother.

Three associates of the former Karnataka chief minister — Arun YM, Rudresh M, and Y Mariswamy — are also accused in the case under IPC sections 204 and 214 of destroying evidence by deleting the video recording of the mother’s confrontation of Yediyurappa from the mobile phone of the mother and her social media account.

According to the police complaint filed by the victim’s mother on March 14, 2024, she visited Yediyurappa’s house 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.

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

Two aides of Yediyurappa who were witnesses to the efforts of other associates of the former CM to cover up the alleged incident have given confessional statements under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) before a magistrate. It is also among the key evidence in the case along with the 164 statements of the victim and her mother, CID officials said.