Hindutva activist Chaitra Kundapura and five others who were arrested by the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch police on Tuesday, on the charge of cheating hospitality entrepreneur Govinda Babu Poojari of ₹5 crore promising a BJP ticket from Byndoor Assembly constituency, were remanded in 10 days police custody by a court in Bengaluru on Wednesday.
While Chaitra was arrested from the Krishna Mutt parking area in Udupi, the other five were arrested from Chikkamagaluru, the police said.
She, along with seven others, had allegedly taken ₹5 crore from Mr. Poojari, a native of Byndoor in Udupi district, who runs Cheftalk Nutri Foods Pvt Limited, among other hospitality and catering businesses in Bengaluru.
How complainant was lured into contesting Assembly elections
Mr. Poojari told the Bandepalya police in Bengaluru on September 8 that he was doing social service in Byndoor constituency through Varalakshmi Charitable Trust for seven years. He was introduced to Chaitra by BJP worker Prasad Byndoor (accused No. 8) in 2022.
Chaitra allegedly coaxed him to contest the 2023 Assembly elections from Byndoor and promised not only to get him the BJP ticket but also get him elected with high-level contacts in Delhi.
She allegedly introduced him to BJP Yuva Morcha general secretary Gagan Kadur (accused No. 2) of Chikkamagaluru, whom they met on July 4, 2022.
Gagan introduced them to ‘Vishwanathji’, claiming he had been an RSS pracharak (worker) in North India for 45 years.
Mr. Poojari paid ₹50 lakh as advance to ‘Vishwanathji’ through Prasad Byndoor on July 7, 2022. Then, Chaitra Kundapura and others introduced him to Abhinava Halashree Swami (accused No. 3) of Samsthana Mutt at Hire Hadagali in Hospet, who took ₹1.5 crore after promising the ticket.
On October 23, he met a man who identified himself as Naik (accused No. 5) and claimed to be a member of the BJP central election committee, in Bengaluru.
Naik confirmed allocation of ticket to Mr. Poojari who then paid the balance ₹3 crore on October 29, 2022.
On March 8, Chaitra informed Mr. Poojari that ‘Vishwanathji’ died of breathing problem.
Mr. Poojari made enquiries in the RSS and learnt there was no person named ‘Vishwanathji’.
Chaitra and others had allegedly got a Chikkamagaluru resident, Ramesh (accused No. 4) to impersonate the RSS pracharak.
The man posing as Naik was a streetvendor in K.R. Puram, Bengaluru. The seer (accused No. 3) promised to return ₹1.5 crore to Mr. Poojari.
The other accused are Dhanaraj of Chikkamagaluru and Srikanth of Udupi.
The CCB police are investigating charges of criminal breach of trust, impersonation, cheating and criminal intimidation against the accused.