Cash-for-ticket scam: Names of bigwigs to come out soon, says Hindu activist

By, Bengaluru
Sep 15, 2023 01:22 AM IST

Bengaluru CCB police on Tuesday night arrested Kundapur from the parking area of Krishna Mutt in Udupi, and the six other accused from Chikkamagaluru

Arrested Hindu activist Chaitra Kundapur on Thursday claimed that several bigwigs were involved in the ‘cash for ticket’ scam in Karnataka. Kundapur made this statement to media persons while being taken for interrogation at the City Crime Branch (CCB) office in Bengaluru on Thursday morning.

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HT Image

“Once the swamiji is arrested, the truth will come out. Several bigwigs’ names will be out,” she said while being taken to the CCB office.

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Bengaluru CCB police on Tuesday night arrested Kundapur from the parking area of Krishna Mutt in Udupi, and the six other accused from Chikkamagaluru, for allegedly cheating a businessman of 7 crore by promising him a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ticket from Byndoor constituency in Udupi district, in the recently held Assembly elections in the state.

Police officials privy to the development said the arrests were made based on a complaint by Govind Babu Pujari (44), a businessman, at the Bandepalya police station in Bengaluru. Pujari, had filed a complaint against eight people including Kundapur on September 8.

On Thursday, when questioned whether she was the prime accused in the case, Kundapur accused Pujari of conspiring against her to get his pending Indira Canteen bills. “His Indira canteen bill is pending due to which he [Pujari] planned this,” she claimed.

According to the FIR, the complainant has accused Kundapur of cheating him of 5 crore in three phases by assuring him a BJP ticket from the Byndoor constituency. The complainant claimed that Kundapur and her associate had disguised a person named Ramesh to act as an RSS leader Vishwanath, claiming he had over 45 years of experience as a campaigner in the organisation, and the recommendation should go through him.

The complainant further alleged that Vishwanath promised to get him a ticket only if 50 lakh is paid in three days to start the process, adding that he was promised of a refund if the ticket isn’t provided.

Pujari also claimed that he had given 1.5 crore to a seer named Abhinava Halasri of Ballari, who has been named as suspect number 3 in the FIR, based on Vishwanath’s directions. Kundapur is said to have taken the complainant to the Mutt and introduced him to the seer. Pictures of the Kundapur at the mutt were widely circulated on social media on Thursday.

The FIR stated that the complainant got suspicious when the accused claimed that Vishwanath had passed away. When he got suspicious, he enquired about him and found that there was no RSS leader named Vishwanath. When Pujari asked for his money back, Kundapur and her associatewent incommunicado, after which he approached the police.

The complainant in the FIR claimed that after he asked for his money, the seer had sought time to return his money and requested him not to take his name in the case.

The Swamiji (seer Abhinava Halasri) has been absconding since the arrest of Kundapur and the police have launched a hunt for him. According to officials privy to the developments, the seer did not visit the Mutt on Wednesday and has switched off his phone after the police arrested Kundapur.

Meanwhile, former chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said that the BJP has nothing to do with the case of fraud and urged stringent action against the culprits.

Speaking to reporters in Mangaluru, Bommai said, “We have nothing to do with the Chaitra Kundapur case. There should be a thorough investigation into the case. Stringent punishment should be given to whoever involved. Whether it is a Swamiji, or whoever it is, they should be arrested.”

“We take the matter of taking cash for ticket seriously. It is clear that BJP has nothing to do with this. “Let there be investigation into the case. Those who are in the guilty position claim big names are involved. But the truth should come out after investigation,” Bommai added.

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