The Hassan scandal continues to haunt the Gowda family. Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) chief, H. D. Kumaraswamy has been changing his stance every day when commenting on the alleged involvement of his brother, H. D. Revanna and nephew Prajwal Revanna, in the case.

Immediately after the scandal surfaced around April 26, Kumaraswamy tried to distance himself from the Revannas, even as the party members called for Prajwal's expulsion. Subsequently, Prajwal was suspended from the party.

Kumaraswamy had told newsmen that “the issue involved the Revanna family. We have nothing to do with it. It is not a family issue. Why do you bring Kumaraswamy and his father, Deve Gowda’s name into it.”

At the same time, Kumaraswamy had expressed confidence in the Special Investigation Team(SIT), set up by the Siddaramaiah government, adding “let the truth come out.” This was barely two-three days after the scandal made headlines.

Now, however, Kumaraswamy is vowing to support his brother Revanna, while arguing that it would be imperative for Prajwal to face the charges levelled against him. The father-son duo are facing serious allegations of kidnapping and sexual harassment. This follows scores of video clips which were circulated in Hassan on the eve of the first phase of polling in the state on April 26.

Prajwal Revanna, the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) from Hassan, was seeking to retain his seat in the Lok Sabha polls this time. Hassan was one of the 14 constituencies that went to the polls on April 26.

Once the sex scandal controversy surfaced, he left the country on the night the polling concluded. Till the time of writing his whereabouts remain uncertain though initially he was supposed to have left for Germany.

Meanwhile, Prajwal’s father H. D. Revanna became the first member of the Deve Gowda family to be sent to jail this week, after a Special Court for elected representatives remanded him to judicial custody till May 14. He has been jailed on abduction charges that were levelled against him.

Revanna, has claimed that he was a victim of political conspiracy and that he was arrested by the SIT without a warrant. Immediately after he was picked up by the agency his first reaction was “the SIT probe was nothing but a witch hunt against me.”

On his part, Kumaraswamy was unrelenting in his attack on the government over the sex tapes, terming the government appointed agency as the “Siddaramaiah Investigation Team”, and the “Shivakumar Investigation team.” He alleged that the two Congress leaders were “planting victims” in connection with Prajwal’s alleged sex scandal case in addition to terrorising them into lodging complaints against the Revannas.

He has also been accusing Shivakumar of being responsible for arranging the circulation of scores of pen drives containing the sex clips, in the process embarrassing the victims concerned.

In this context, Kumaraswamy also referred to a complaint by a former Zila Parishad member that she had been abused by Prajwal at gunpoint for several years. And, yet, he claimed, the same woman had shared the stage with Prajwal during one of his campaigns during the recent Lok Sabha polls in Hassan.

At the same time Kumaraswamy said that while he was not defending his nephew, the fact remained that it was imperative to have a fair probe. He asked why the SIT had not summoned Karthik, Prajwal’s former driver and others for their alleged involvement in the case.

In a related development, several victims of the alleged sex scandal have left their homes and instead gone underground as their faces were apparently visible in the video clips. The accompanying shame, distress, and mental trauma, is hard for them to live with.

Meanwhile, the prime accused, Prajwal, continues to evade the SIT. Initial reports claimed that he would return after May 7. However, there is no word about him till now. Speculation is rife that he would, perhaps, return after the results of the Lok Sabha polls are announced on June 4.

State Home Minister, G. Parameshwara, has dismissed any talk of the probe being transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), saying that the SIT officials were doing their job efficiently. The agency did, however, seek CBI’s assistance following which the Blue Corner notice against Prajwal was issued.

Not satisfied with Parameshwar’s response, the JD-S proposes to approach the state Governor, Thawar Chand Gehlot, to urge him to transfer the case to the CBI. A section of JD-S supporters had demanded a judicial probe into the Hassan case, arguing that the state government was unwilling to hand it over to the Central government. “A sitting judge of the Karnataka High Court should oversee the investigation,” they said.

In another development, several Vokkaliga ministers in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet came together to defend Shivakumar, after he came under fire from Kumaraswamy and the JD-S protestors. The ministers claimed that the Hassan case was the world’s biggest sex scandal, adding that an attempt was being made to divert attention from the probe to protect Prajwal, the main accused.