JD(S) leader HD Revanna, accused of allegedly kidnapping a survivor of sexual assault by son Prajwal Revanna, granted bail

The bail comes after the MLA, an ally of the BJP party, spent nine days in jail; conditions imposed include a bond for Rs 5 lakh, bar from leaving the country, and prohibition on interacting with the witnesses

Getting bail, especially by district courts and special courts, is an exception today. And yet, on May 13, Janata Dal(S) leader and Karnataka Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) HD Revanna was granted conditional bail by Bengaluru court. The said bail was granted by the Special court in connection with a kidnapping case linked to sexual abuse allegation against him and his son Prajwal. Notably, the relief in the form of bail came to the JDS MLA, a party that is an ally to the current ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), after spending only nine days behind bars.

As per a report in the LiveLaw, Judge Santhosh Gajanana Bhat pronounced the said bail order in the evening of May 13 after having heard senior advocate CV Nagesh, appearing for Revanna, and additional special public prosecutors (SPPs) Jayana Kothari and Ashok N Nayak appearing for the special investigation team. While grant of bail, Judge Bhat imposed conditions that require the accused to furnish a bond for Rs 5 lakh, along with two sureties. In addition to this, HD Revanna has been barred from leaving the country, entering KR Nagar in Mysuru district, and interacting with the witnesses. He has also been asked to cooperate with the SIT investigation. 

Brief background:

As per a report of the Indian Express, electronic devices like pen drives and CDs had emerged in the public domain on April 21, ahead of the April 26 Hassan parliament poll, which had suggested that Prajwal Revanna, son of HD Revanna, had allegedly carried out sexual assaults on several women in Hassan and recorded the attacks on his phone camera. It is to be noted that as many as 2,900 files with videos and images of the sexual encounters of the MP were found in the pen drives that were leaked. A helpline had also been set up by the SIT to report incidents of attack by the MP.

The case against HD Revanna:

On May 4, HD Revanna was arrested by the special investigation team (SIT) formed by the Karnataka government after a kidnapping case of a woman, believed to be one of the survivors of the sexual violence scandal involving his son, was registered against HD Revanna at KR Nagar police station in Bengaluru. This came after the anticipatory bail plea filed by HD Revanna was rejected in the kidnapping case. The said SIT is probing the alleged sexual abuse case filed against HD Revanna and his son Prajwal Revanna. Prajwal Revanna, who is yet to be arrested, has been absconding since April 27. Prajwal Revanna, the incumbent MP, is seeking another term from Hassan Lok Sabha constituency and is an ally of the BJP party.

It is to be noted that HD Revanna had been arrested on the charge that he, along with others, abducted a rape survivor/victim from her KR Nagar home in Mysuru district. The SIT is also probing him for charges of sexual harassment of a domestic help.

Arguments raised during petition hearing:

Arguments raised by the petitioners: On May 9, while the bail petition filed by HD Revanna was being argued, counsel CV Nagesh had alleged that the case against the MLA was not maintainable under the law as there was no mention of evidence against him in the petition filed by the SIT.

“The only argument of the prosecution is that I have not cooperated but they have not found a speck of evidence against me.”

As per the report of Indian Express, the senior counsel had further claimed that “there is neither kidnapping nor abduction” involved in the case. He pointed to the court that the victim was not attacked in the period between April 29 and May 5 when she was reported to have been abducted. The defence counsel had sought a copy of the voluntary statement recorded by the woman before a magistrate on the sexual assault on her. The SIT had told the court that a statement had been recorded.

“There was no allegation of the survivor being forced or trapped. There was no demand. HD Revanna is a politician and there are political reasons behind his arrest. The incident took place on April 29 and the FIR was filed on May 2. There was no kidnap or illegal detention. The survivor was a maid at HD Revanna’s residence and the kidnap charges don’t apply.”

Mr Nagesh had lastly stated that HD Revanna had been arrested unnecessarily as he could have been released after questioning and called back for interrogation whenever needed.

Arguments by the SIT: SPP Jayna Kothari told the special court that the woman, who was allegedly kidnapped on the instructions of H D Revanna, was a victim of sexual assault by Prajwal Revanna. The said woman had worked for six years at the home of the accused and was forcibly taken away on April 29 from her home by the MLA’s associates on the orders of the MLA, the SPP had argued as per a report of Indian Express. She had provided that the victim was later found on May 5 by the SIT at a farm that was 40 km from her residence which belonged to an associate of the Holenarasipura MLA HD Revanna.

Kothari had urged for the rejection of the bail plea by pointing to the court that such leniency in a kidnapping case would send a wrong signal to the victims of sexual harassment by Prajwal. Kothari had said that the offense of kidnapping, dealt under Section 364 A of the Indian Penal Code, alleged against HD Revanna itself prescribes serious punishment of death or life imprisonment. The SPP argued that the case involved the abduction of the woman and holding her under threat to her life as expressed by the woman in her statement to police after her rescue.

Kothari further highlighted that the effort to kidnap was done to obstruct the course of justice and tamper with evidence. Kothari had also emphasised upon HD Revanna’s influence and had alleged that giving bail to him would lead to a “danger of justice being thwarted”.

“The kidnapping is an offence that is in continuation of other crimes.”

“The son has absconded and are we in any doubt that the petitioner will not abscond?”

The grant of bail:

As The Special court in Bengaluru granted bail to leader H D Revanna accused of kidnapping a woman by stating the following:

“Bail Application filed by the the petitioner under Sec.439 of Cr.P.C., in Cr.No.149/2024 registered by the respondent Police station for the offences punishable under Sec.364-A, 365 read with Sec.34 of IPC pending on the file of the learned XLII ACMM Court at Bengaluru is hereby allowed and the petitioner is hereby admitted to bail on executing a personal bond for Rs.5,00,000/- with two sureties to the satisfaction of the jurisdictional court.”

As per LiveLaw, the following court has imposed the following conditions on HD Revanna:

  1. a) The petitioner shall not threaten and tamper the prosecution witnesses or the complainant and victim.
  2. b) The petitioner shall not evade the Investigation and shall appear before the I.O. whenever called by him for the purpose of investigation.
  3. c) The petitioner shall furnish his passport to the Court and shall not leave the State Court without obtaining written permission from the Court.
  4. d) The petitioner shall not enter upon K.R.Nagar Taluk or the permanent place of residence of the victim directly or indirectly till further orders.
  5. e) The petitioner shall appear before the I.O. on every second Sunday of the month and mark his attendance between 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. for a period of 6 months or till the filing of charge sheet, whichever is earlier.
  6. f) The petitioner shall not indulge in similar offence. Office is directed to return the CD files to the prosecution



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