Former Karnataka BJP minister Halappa gets clean chit in rape case
Former Karnataka minister and BJP leader Hartal Halappa was acquitted in a rape case on Thursday. The Shivamogga 2nd JMFC court gave a clean chit to the Yeddyurappa loyalist in a 2010 sexual assault case.
The trial in the case went on for almost seven years and saw Halappa, then a cabinet minister, resigning over charges of rape. The court cleared all charges against the BJP leader citing lack of evidence against him and inconsistency in complainant's statements.
"Truth has finally prevailed. A political conspiracy was hatched against me but now it has failed. I had immense trust in the judiciary and want to thank everyone who trusted me," said the BJP leader as he walked out of the court room.
Halappa was accused of raping his friend's wife in 2009. The couple, however, filed a complaint against the then minister only in 2010, almost six months after the alleged incident. Venkateshmurthy, the alleged victim's husband had submitted video proof of the incident on a CD but had refused to submit the memory card that was originally used.
The court observed that the complainant had changed his statements at least nine times. The inconsistencies in his statement were noted by the court. After allegations of rape were levelled against him, the BJP government was forced to demand his resignation. The incident had come as a major embarrassment to the party.
With his acquittal, the BJP now has a new problem. With assembly elections around the corner, Halappa is vying for a ticket to contest from the Soraba constituency. However, Kumar Bangarappa, who deserted the Congress to join the BJP, is also an aspirant.