In an embarrassment to Karnataka's ruling Congress, Education Minister Tanveer Sait was on Thursday seen allegedly watching obscene pictures on his mobile at an official function here.
"No complaint has been made so far against the minister though we have also seen local news channels airing him watching some pictures or visuals on his mobile while seated on the dais at the hour-long function," Raichur's Superintendent of Police Chetan Singh Rathore told IANS.
The function was part of the birth anniversary celebrations of Mysore kingdom's ruler Tipu Sultan sponsored by the state government across amid protests against it by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJ) and its right-wing associations.
Sait is the district-in charge minister for Raichur, 490 km away from Bengaluru.
"We can investigate the charge only if a complaint is filed against the minister as we are not privy to what he was seeing on his mobile at the event," said Rathore.
In the footage aired by Kannada news channels, Sait was seen browsing his mobile handset and watching a nude woman standing next to a bed in a room. It is not clear whose picture it is and where it was shot.
Sait, however, denied the charge and clarified that he was watching a similar function being held at his home town Mysuru and was uploaded on Whatsapp.
The footage also showed the party MP B.V. Nayak peeping into Sait's cell phone and allegedly gesturing.
When media persons brought the incident to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's attention and asked if he would sack Sait as the BJP sought, he said he was unaware of it and would soon ascertain about it from the minister.
"How can I respond to your query when I am not aware of the incident as I am in Bengaluru and Sait is at Raichur. I will first seek a report on it and find out from him what was he watching (on mobile) at the function," he said.
Within an hour after the news channels began airing the sensational footage, BJP's state unit president B.S. Yeddurappa and former Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar sought Sait's resignation or dismissal if he does not quit.
Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) state unit president and former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy also demanded Sait's resignation or removal and an inquiry ordered against his "immoral conduct" at an official function.
"Sait should quit for paving an impartial inquiry into what he was watching on his mobile at an official function," he said.
(With IANS inputs)