Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa arrested in murder case

The 47-year-old was picked up in connection with the murder of Renukaswamy, on 9 June in the Kamakshipalya area of Bengaluru.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 11, 2024 | 11:55 AM Updated Jun 12, 2024 | 2:28 PM

Darshan was arrested for his alleged links in Renukaswamy murder case. (Facebook)

Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa, known as the ‘Challenging Star,’ was arrested on Tuesday, 11 June, in connection with the murder of a man who allegedly made “derogatory” comments against his close friend, police sources said.

He and 12 others were questioned by police after being taken into custody earlier on Tuesday and subsequently arrested in connection with the alleged murder of a man, identified as Renukaswamy.

It is alleged that the deceased had made objectionable social media posts against actor Pavitra Gowda.

“In connection with a murder, a Kannada film actor has been taken into custody and is being questioned,” Dayananda had briefed reporters in Bengaluru earlier in the day.

Renukaswamy’s body was found on 9 June in the Kamakshipalya area of Bengaluru, he said.

He was detained by police from Mysuru along with 10 other individuals.

Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara said Darshan Thoogudeepa is being subjected to an inquiry by police and whether he is involved or not would be known only after the investigation.

Meanwhile, Darshan’s lawyer told media that the case was charged under Sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code.

He added that they will approach the Sessions Court and apply for regular bail in 2-3 days.

After his arrest was recorded, he was taken to Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru for a medical examination ahead of producing him before the magistrate.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru West Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) said that Pavitra Gowda was also arrested.

The other arrested were identified as Pavan, Vinay, Pradosh, Nandeesha, Deepak, Lakshman, Nagaraju, Karthik, Nikhil, Keshavmurthy and Raghavendra.

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The murder

After the alleged killing, the body of Renukaswamy, who worked with a pharmacy company and hailed from the district headquarters town of Chitradurga, was dumped into a stormwater drain in Kamakshipalya.

“Based on the recovery of the dead body of an unidentified man and the injuries on his body, a murder case was registered. On the basis of CCTV footage and other technical evidence, the deceased was identified as Renukaswamy,” Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda said.

“We have detained the Kannada film actor and his aides and are questioning him. Since the investigation is on I cannot share more details,” he said.

When asked whether Darshan has been arrested: he said: “He has been taken into custody and is being questioned. Other procedures will follow after the due process.”

Suspected motive

It is alleged that the deceased had made some derogatory social media posts about actor Pavitra Gowda.

Police came to know about the murder after some local residents alerted them.

The body was sent for an autopsy and the forensic report confirmed that he was murdered, police sources said.

Further investigation led to the arrest of some suspects, who spilt the beans, a police official said.

Police suspect that Renukaswamy was murdered in a shed within the Kamakshipalya police station limits. The body was discovered near Sumanahalli Bridge two days ago, leading to a case being filed at the Kamakshipalya Police Station.

Dayananda stated that allegations suggested Renukaswamy had been sending abusive messages and comments to Darshan’s wife. “Technical investigations and CCTV footage were instrumental in cracking the case,” he added.

Based on their statement, police detained Darshan from a hotel in Mysuru, sources said.

The police are probing to find out if the actor was directly involved in the murder or was part of the conspiracy, the sources added.


‘Nothing can be said now’

“A person from Chitradurga was murdered in Bengaluru. In connection with that murder some people have been arrested, and during their inquiry, Darshan’s name has come, so he has been brought for inquiry,” Parameshwara told reporters.

“Until the investigation is over, nothing can be said. Whether he (Darshan) is involved or not. What is the reason for the murder? Why has his name come? All those things will be known only after the investigation. So at this point in time, nothing else can be said,” he added.

It is alleged that the deceased had made some derogatory comments against a film actress in a social media post.

To a question, Parameshwara said: “He (Darshan) was arrested in Mysuru and has been brought to Bengaluru. He is in police custody and is being subjected to inquiry.”

Parents seek justice

Renukaswamy’s parents were inconsolable after learning about the murder.

“He was my only son. He got married last year. I spoke to him on Saturday. I want justice,” his father Srinivasaiah told reporters at Kamakshipalya police station.

Police have increased security measures at Darshan’s residence in RR Nagar.

Darshan is a multifaceted personality in the Kannada film industry, acting, producing, and distributing films.

Although he is the son of the renowned actor Thoogudeepa Srinivas, success did not come easily to him.

He worked his way up from humble beginnings, including selling milk and assisting BC Gowrishanker, before landing roles in television soaps and eventually transitioning to the big screen, where he played various roles such as son, friend, and brother.

Darshan Thoogudeepa’s first leading role in a feature film was in the 2002 movie, Majestic.

The crowds he attracts during the first four days, particularly in B and C centers, are unparalleled in Kannada cinema.

Darshan, eventually, starred in commercially successful films such as Kariya (2003), Kalasipalya (2005), Gaja (2008), Navagraha (2008), Saarathi (2011), Roberrt (2021), and Kaatera (2023).

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Darshan is not new to controversies 

Darshan Thoogudeepa has been involved in several controversies. In 2011, his wife Vijayalakshmi accused him of domestic violence, leading to his arrest and 14 days in judicial custody.

The couple later reconciled, and the complaint was subsequently withdrawn.

In 2016, Darshan faced accusations of harassment from his wife once more. He allegedly visited her apartment in Hosakerehalli, where she was living separately with their son, caused a disturbance, and reportedly assaulted security guard Devraj, who tried to intervene.

In 2021, Darshan faced allegations of assaulting a waiter at a hotel in Mysuru. It was also claimed that the police had suppressed the incident and settled the matter by compensating the waiter.

In 2022, Kannada producer Bharat filed a complaint with the police, accusing Darshan of threatening him with serious repercussions.

In 2023, Forest Department officials conducted a raid on actor Darshan’s farmhouse near T. Narsipur, seizing four bar-headed geese because he was allegedly keeping them in violation of the law. A video posted on social media featured the actor discussing the birds, which subsequently went viral. As a result, the Forest Department decided to take action.

Interestingly, the bar-headed geese are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, owing to their endangered status.

In January 2024, actor Pavithra Gowda shared a celebratory reel marking her tenth anniversary, revealing Darshan’s involvement in an extramarital affair. In the same month, Darshan Thoogudeepa, Dolly Dhananjaya, Abhishek Ambareesh, and producer Rockline Venkatesh were involved in controversy for partying late at the Jetlag Bar and Grill pub in Rajaji Nagar, Bengaluru.

Police officials issued summons to the three actors and the producer, requesting their attendance for interrogation. The incident took place during the success celebration of Darshan’s film, Kaatera.

The movie achieved tremendous success and garnered substantial box office earnings.

Kaatera marked his second collaboration with the director following their previous hit, Roberrt (2021). Rockline Venkatesh produced the Darshan Thoogudeepa-starrer.

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