In an embarrassment to the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka, state primary and secondary education minister Tanveer Sait has lodged a complaint against a journalist and a cameraman, who shot a video of him watching sexually explicit pictures on his mobile phone during an official function. The event was organised to mark the birth anniversary of Tipu Sultan in the northern district of Raichur on Thursday. “Based on the minister’s complaint, we’ve registered a case against the TV reporter and cameraman,” a senior police officer said, according to a report. The duo have been charged under IPC Section 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace). Meanwhile, Chief minister Siddaramaiah said: “I’m not aware of the development. I’ll speak to Tanveer Sait before reacting… (But) I’m not defending anyone. What’s important is whether the mistake has been committed. I don’t want an innocent person to get punished, regardless of the person’s stature or party affiliation. I won’t accept the report Sait submits to me. I will get the incident probed before initiating action.”
Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda has criticised Siddaramaiah over the incident. In an apparent dig, the former PM said, the Chief Minister should have been careful while dealing with the issue. He said: “The media has shown footage of Sait watching objectionable photos on his mobile. Instead of giving the minister a clean chit, the CM should order a probe into the incident. Now, a complaint has been filed against a media house.”
State Congress president G Parameshwar had taken note of the incident, said government sources. They have spoken to Sait and sought an explanation. On the other hand, the opposition BJP in the state has demanded the resignation of Sait.
Kannada television channels aired the footage of Sait viewing those pictures on his phone. The footage showed Sait scrolling down a series of seemingly explicit pictures on his mobile phone in the middle of the event. Sait was the chief guest at the event.