The arrest of Ramesh alias Yuvaraj Swamy, 52, a former seer of the Banjara community, who presented himself as a “political fixer” and claimed to be close to several BJP leaders in Delhi and a member of a right-wing organisation, has opened a can of worms in the ruling party here. Yuvaraj has been accused of cheating people of crores of rupees by promising them coveted posts in the government and on boards and corporations through his political connections.
Opposition leaders, however, are unhappy with the police probe, which they allege is being limited to certain specific instances where the victims have lodged complaints and not his alleged links to BJP leaders.
According to sources, BJP circles are also abuzz with talk that a former BJP Rajya Sabha member had paid him several crores to ensure another term in the Upper House and for a berth in the Central Cabinet, though there has been no complaint in this regard. “Multiple Ministers in the State were trying to lobby and make their case in Delhi through him and often went to his house,” party sources said.
The Bengaluru police are currently probing 14 cases of cheating against him. In one of the cases, he has been accused of cheating a former High Court judge of ₹8.3 crore, promising a Governor’s post.
As the investigation picked up pace, photographs of the accused with political leaders started circulating on social media. Yuvaraj is seen in photos alongside Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J.P. Nadda, among other leaders, which are prominently displayed at his residence.
The police said he introduced himself as a former seer and an astrologer, which allowed him to meet several politicians. He took photographs with them which he misused to cheat people claiming he was close to central BJP leaders.
“We have not come across a single case where he promised to get a job done and has delivered,” a senior official said. No politician has been questioned till date in the case.
N. Ravikumar, general secretary, BJP Karnataka, said that it was their government that busted the conman and even attached his properties. "There is no question of saving anyone,” he said.
BJP insiders say the story of Yuvaraj Swamy is more nuanced. He was born in Devarapurada Hatti, Chitradurga district and after being anointed by Murugha Sharana Swami he took the name Sanganabasava Swami and became a seer of the community’s Sevalal Banjara Gurupeetha in the district in 1997-98.
He was reportedly pushed out of the post over corruption charges and alleged womanising. Eight cases were registered against him in 2004 for cheating students after promising them seats at a dental college run by the community trust.
Around this time, the BJP was beginning to build a larger social coalition, cultivating a support base among Dalits, OBCs, and other minor communities including the Banjaras. Yuvaraj, who by then also claimed he was an astrologer, is learnt to have become a ‘political player’.
During the first tenure of BJP in power in the State, Yuvaraj, then popularly known as ‘Sevalal Swami’, was often sighted at the Chief Minister’s residence, a senior BJP legislator said.
On recent developments, a senior BJP leader said, “He had recently emerged as a key coordinator among certain MLAs trying to oust B.S. Yediyurappa as the Chief Minister. He developed hubris and bit off more than he could chew, prompting the government to take action.”