As debate over the sex scandal allegedly involving Aam Aadmi Party leader Sandeep Kumar rages on, here is a quick look at the top seven sex scandals to have hit Indian politics. In some cases, they have ended careers; in others, they have ended lives. What has lived on is the enduring connection between sleaze and politics.
1. Suresh Ram sex scandal
Suresh Ram may not be a noted name in Indian politics, but it was his father — Babu Jagjivan Ram — who bore the brunt of this sex scandal. An influential Dalit leader who had even held the position of deputy prime minister in the late 1970s, Jagjivan Ram was being seen as a prospective prime ministerial candidate by many.
However, his political career suffered a huge jolt when, in 1978, a magazine called Surya — then edited by Maneka Gandhi — published a two-page spread of photos of his son Suresh Ram in a compromising position with a young woman. Jagjivan Ram never recovered from the setback, with people remembering him less for his politics and more for the photos of his son, which can still be found on the internet.
2. Mahipal Maderna and Bhanwari Devi
This was the stuff films are made of. Literally! Bhanwari Devi, an auxiliary nurse and midwife, had caught the attention of Congress leader Mahipal Maderna ostenbsibly after appearing in a promotional video made for the government.
In 2011, her husband accused Maderna of killing her, leading to a protracted investigation that revealed she was blackmailing Maderna and party colleague Malkhan Singh for crores of rupees with two compromising videos she had made of them.
The case may still be in the court, but it did not stop Bollywood from making a film on it. The flick, named "Dirty Politics," is now remembered more because of the controversy of Mallika Sherawat using the Tricolour and little else to cover her modesty in one of the posters.
3. Amarmani Tripathi and Madhumita Shukla
Amarmani Tripathi was an influential leader of the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh, and even a member of one of the Cabinets of Mulayam Singh Yadav. He was arrested in September 2003 after poet Madhumita — his paramour who was seven months pregnant at the time of her death — was gunned down at a close range in May that year. He and his wife were accused of conspiring to murdering her, and found guilty of the charge. They are currently serving the life sentence they were awarded as a result of this conviction.
4. The Kerala ice-cream parlour scandal
Accusations first appeared in 1997 that an ice-cream parlour in Kozhikode was being used as a front for a brothel. Nearly two decades later the case is still in the court, but the details are still sketchy. Was the brothel owned by influential political leaders, or were these leaders among the high-profile "customers" there? Whatever be the case, IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty would want it gone, because his is one of the few names that have been taken publicly in connection with the case.
5. ND Tiwari sex scandal
This could be the grandfather of all sex scandals wherein octogenarian ND Tiwari, then governor of Andhra Pradesh, was shown in a sting operation by a Telugu news channel in bed with three women at his official residence. The scandal from 2009 cut short his gubernatorial stint, but was in no way the first involving the man accused of sexual profligacy.
In one instance, he was accused by a man named Rohit Shekhar of being his father. Rohit had said Tiwari had fathered him with his unwed mother. Tiwari would finally marry Rohit's mother Ujjwala in 2014, after a paternity test proved he was indeed Rohit's biological father.
6. Gopal Kanda and Geetika Sharma
Geetika Sharma was once an air hostess with the now-defunct MDLR Airlines, launched by Haryana-based politician Gopal Goyal Kanda. When she committed suicide in 2012, she left behind two suicide notes detailing harassment by Kanda. She also said he had sexual relationships with another woman, with whom the already-married Kanda also had a son. The case, which is still in the court, had landed Kanda in the court but he is now out on bail.
7. Abhishek Manu Singhvi sex CD
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, then a spokesperson of the Congress, was left red in the face when a video purportedly showing him in a compromising position with a woman advocate within the lawyers' chambers of the Supreme Court. The video, recorded by his driver in an apparent method to blackmail him, had come out in the form of a CD, and has since been banned from publication in any form by the Delhi High Court.