By NBF News

A former minister in the government of India's southern Karnataka state has been arrested after the wife of a friend accused him of sexual assault.

Haratal Halappa, former food and civil supplies minister in the state's BJP government, denies the charge. He says he is being framed by political rivals.

Mr Halappa resigned last week. He surrendered to the police on Sunday.

Correspondents say the incident has embarrassed the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government.

Mr Halappa had claimed some of his own party leaders are among those who want to frame him.

He said last week that he had resigned to save the government from embarrassment and vowed to clear his reputation if there was a “proper inquiry”.

The woman, who lodged a complaint against the minister, said the incident took place last November. She said she and her husband were threatened by the minister and told to keep the incident secret.

“He tried to have sex with me by force. I resisted …When my husband returned home, he saw me crying. He could not control his anger and beat him. I beat him up too,” she said.

She said she was “scared” for her life if the government did not give her protection.

Mr Halappa will be produced in a court in Bangalore city on Monday.