Karnataka MLC sends pornographic images on WhatsApp group containing senior govt officials, journalists

A Karnataka MLC created a flutter on Tuesday evening, when he forwarded around 50 images of naked women to his contacts on social networking application WhatsApp. The BJP MLC from Belgavi, Mahantesh Kavatagimath, sent a PDF file to a WhatsApp group, the Belgavi Media Force, which also includes senior politicians, government officials and journalists. This PDF contained over 50 images of pornstars.

Representational image. Getty Images

Representational image. Getty Images

According to a report in The Times of India, the attachment caused an instant furore among the group members, before administrator Mahaboob Makandar removed Kavatagimath from the group. Makandar said he has known Kavatagimath as a decent politician for a long time. "I don't know how the pictures were posted to the group. But I immediately removed him from the group," he said.

Disseminating objectionable content on WhatsApp can be considered a criminal offence, and the law was recently amended to say that administrators can be penalised even if other members of the group indulge in this. But when Makandar was asked about his culpability in the crime, he said he couldn't be held responsible, as it was someone else's mistake. He also told The Times of India that a police complaint needs to be registered in order for action to be taken against him. And moreover, he pointed out, nobody's image was maligned.

But while the media in the state went into overdrive with the news, Kavatagimath remained untraceable. A report on India Today said Kavatagimath switched off his phone and has remained unreachable after the message and the news went viral. He is said to have apologised to the Belagavi media, saying he had sent it by mistake.

This is far from the first time Karnataka ministers have been caught in a controversy regarding sleazy content. In 2012, three ministers — CC Patil, Lakshmana Savadi and Krishna Palemar — were caught watching pornography in the Karnataka state Assembly while it was in session.

More recently, state excise minister HY Meti was asked to step down last year after a video emerged showing him in a compromising position, seeking sexual favours from a woman inside a taluk panchayat office.

Updated Date: May 03, 2017 11:21 AM

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