Porngate ministers defiant; probe ordered

Three BJP ministers in Karnataka – Laxman Savadi, J Krishna Palimar and CC Patil – were caught watching porn on a cell phone in the state Assembly.

Zeenews Bureau

Bangalore: Three BJP ministers in Karnataka – Laxman Savadi, J Krishna Palimar and CC Patil – who were on Tuesday caught watching porn on a cell phone in the state Assembly and quit as ministers today, continue to remain defiant.

The three ministers, even after submitting their resignations which was accepted by Governor HR Bhardwaj, are attending the Assembly session today. While claiming he was not guilty, Patil said he would address the Assembly today.

Earlier, speaking to the media, the ministers said they decided to quit after Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda asked them to do so.

"We don`t want the party and the government to face further embarrassment. All of us have decided to resign. We have handed over our resignation letters to Chief Minister with a request to accept it," Savadi, Patil and Palemar told reporters.

Meanwhile, a House Committee has been set up by Speaker KG Bopaiah to probe the incident.

The ministers were caught by cameras of private Kannada TV channels, which are allowed to telecast the Assembly proceedings, and the clippings were shown after the House adjourned for the day.

The clippings show Savadi, Cooperation Minister, intently watching the clipping and Patil, Minister for Women and Child Welfare, peeping for a few seconds and moving to apparently switch off the cell.

The two denied they were watching porn and claimed it was a clipping of a rape and murder scene in a foreign country which they saw in the light of controversy of a group of foreigners indulging in a sex act recently at a tourism promotion event near Udupi, about 400 km west of Bangalore.

The two dragged in a third colleague, Environment and Port Minister Palimar, saying the cell phone belonged to him.

As the episode, unprecedented in nature in the state`s legislative history became a full blown controversy, the opposition parties demanded the resignation of the three ministers and parts of the state also witnessed protests.

The direction to the ministers to quit came after the BJP summoned the trio and told them to put in their papers at a meeting attended by top leaders including Sadananda Gowda, state BJP president KS Eswarappa and former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa.

As the episode came into national limelight, BJP president Nitin Gadkari spoke to Gowda and Eswarappa and directed them to initiate action against the three ministers, party sources said.

Training its guns on the BJP, Congress demanded that the three ministers should be arrested while asking the Assembly Speaker to suspend them.

"They should be arrested," Union Minister Veerappa Moily said, adding, "they have desecrated the sanctity of the Assembly".