Rape charges against his son may tarnish Sadanand Gowda's squeaky clean image

By Aravind S Kamal

Bangalore: Till Wednesday, Union Railways Minister and former chief minister of Karnataka, DV Sadananda Gowda, had a squeaky clean reputation in public life. His son’s alleged indiscretion involving an actress could leave it sullied.

After the small-time actress in Kannada films filed a rape charge against his son Karthik, Gowda is not only battling to save his image, but figuring out ways and means to tackle the case, particularly with his son likely to be arrested by the police. Now, the issue has taken political overtones with the Congress launching a statewide agitation seeking action against Karthik and Gowda’s resignation.

 Rape charges against his son may tarnish Sadanand Gowdas squeaky clean image

Sadananda Gowda. PTI

Maithriya Gowda, the complainant, is a little known Bangalore-based actress and her claim to fame includes roles in Kannada movies of top stars such as, Puneeth Rajkumar and Upendra. She is presently shooting for a Kannada movie titled Namasthe India in which she plays the role of a heroine. She was regular at filmy events and awards/ shows. On Wednesday, when Karthik got engaged to Swati in Kushalnagara, Maithriya initially chose to vent her ire over telephone to the media.

But she shocked everyone by officially lodging a rape complaint against Karthik later in the day. Late on Wednesday night, the police registered a FIR and subjected the actress to medical tests.

The actress has invoked IPC Sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating) against Karthik. In her long complaint, Maithriya has detailed her 'affair' with 'husband' Karthik. She claimed that she met Karthik at a coffee outlet in Sanjaynagar, Bangalore on 8 May through a common friend Kushal. They went on to become good friends and love blossomed between the two. According to her, Karthik confided his love for the actress and they started dating. Apparently, he promised to marry her by taking his parents’ permission.

Maithriya said they visited Karthik’s Mangalore residence on 5 June this year. By then, they were already in a physical relationship and Maithriya once again asked Karthik about their marriage. "We wed as per our tradition and he tied mangalasutra (turmeric-based yellow sacred thread) around my neck in front of the god at his home. We do not have any witness other than god for our wedding. I did not know he would ditch me this way," Maithriya alleged.

The actress said that they met again several times in Bangalore and whenever she inquired about their formal wedding, Karthik allegedly dodged the questions. Maithriya said she could not wait any longer and met Karthik at his residence to inquire about their wedding. "I met his mother (Sadananda Gowda’s wife) and she told me that marriage was ruled out because she had already selected her daughter-in-law. I was shattered, but Karthik assured me that he would marry me only," the actress said in her complaint.

She further alleged that since the last two weeks, Karthik maintained a distance from her and was not entertaining her calls. "However, I was shocked to learn that he had got engaged to the daughter of businessman. I felt cheated and therefore I had to seek legal recourse," she contended.

However, Gowda’s family contended that it was the handiwork of Gowda’s political rivals to damage his reputation. "We are confident that Karthik would never make such promise. This allegation has upset all of us. We are ready for a detailed probe... Let the truth come out," said Gowda’s brother SV Suresh.
Meanwhile, Maithriya’s family claimed that they were only seeking justice. "We hail from a respectable family. We are neither blackmailing them nor seeking any compensation. We do not even want a share of their property. We want Karthik to tie the knot with Maithriya. We are ready to withdraw the complaint if Maithriya gets justice," the actress’ sister Roopa said.

Roopa further claimed that Karthik visited their home on several occasions to pick and drop Maithriya. "Everyone knew that they were in a relationship. We had left it for Maithriya to take forward. But we never knew that she would be cheated like this," she added.

Karnataka’s Home Minister KJ George has promised an impartial probe into the complaint. Meanwhile, the Congress party workers are staging demonstration in all the district headquarters seeking Gowda's resignation.

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Updated Date: Aug 29, 2014 08:38:16 IST