Hindutva hardliner Chaitra Kundapura claimed on Thursday, 14 September, that the arrest of one of the eight accused — a seer named Abhinav Halasree — would lead to the revealing of the entire plot of the conspiracy.
Chaitra, infamous for delivering hate speeches against minority communities in coastal Karnataka, added that bigger names would be dropped in the case where a Bengaluru-based businessman was conned out of ₹5 crore in his quest for a ticket in May’s Karnataka Assembly elections.
She was speaking to reporters while being brought to the Central Crime Branch (CCB) headquarters in Bengaluru on Thursday morning for questioning.
Hospete-based Abhinav Halasree is the sole accused in the case who has evaded arrest so far: All seven other accused — including Chaitra — have been arrested by the CCB officials.
Being victimised, claims Chaitra
Chaitra was brought to the CCB office for questioning on her first day of police custody — from the state-run women’s remand home where she was lodged the previous night — by two women constables in plain clothes.
She was seen telling reporters gathered outside the CCB office that there were pending bills of Indira Canteen to be cleared of the complainant Govinda Babu Poojary.
She added that the truth about the case would come out once the seer was arrested.
CCB sources told South First that Kundapura, during her interrogation, told them that she was being victimised in this case by not only the complainant but also by Abhinav Halasree.
She apparently told the CCB sleuths that the complainant, who runs a catering business, had obtained contracts to run Indira Canteens as well.
Bills of Govinda Babu Poojary worth several crores of rupees were stuck with the Karnataka government while the BJP was in power in the state, she reportedly said.
Now, since the government has changed and the Indira Canteens are being refurbished by the Congress government, the complainant has his own interest in getting his pending bills cleared, she claimed.
That was why he had complained against her and seven others, including the seer who had masterminded the conspiracy, she apparently told the cops.
Chaitra Kundapura: From hate speech against Islam to hiding in Muslim home
‘Regular’ police procedures underway
Kundapura, after the questioning session, was taken back to the women’s remand home as a woman cannot remain in police custody after 6 pm, according to Supreme Court guidelines.
She would be brought back to the CCB’s office for the next round of questioning on Friday morning, a CCB source said.
“We have as of now arrested seven accused persons and have obtained police custody of all of them for 10 days. Regular procedures like questioning them, recording their statements, and taking them for spot mahajars (inspection) at all the places throughout the state where the crimes were committed — including conspiring and planning, and cash handovers — should be carried out and documented,” said a senior police officer.
He added: “Complainant Govinda Babu Poojary conducted the transactions with only hard cash and not through the bank. However, he has all records of withdrawals with him.”
Asked about the absconding seer, a senior CCB official told South First: “Ever since he got the tip-off that a case had been registered against him in Bengaluru, he has been on the move in his car with a stack of cash. He is not using any gadgets or ATM cards.”
The seer was apparently travelling within Karnataka. The cops had found clues on the places he was frequenting, and he would be picked up soon, the officer told South First.
Chaitra Kundapura was arrested along with her two associates on Tuesday night in connection with the cheating case.
The Karnataka police said she and her associates allegedly duped the 44-year-old industrialist Govinda Babu Poojary of ₹5 crore by promising him a BJP ticket from the Byndoor Assembly constituency in the Udupi district of Karnataka.
Based on the complaint of Poojary, a resident of Haraluru of Southeast Bengaluru, the Bandepalya police on 8 September registered a case of cheating, impersonation, criminal breach of trust, pretending to hold any particular office as a public servant, criminal intimidation, and criminal conspiracy against Chaitra Kundapura — the prime accused — and seven of her associates.
The case was entrusted to the Special Inquiry wing of the CCB as the matter was sensitive and involved crores in money transactions, and also because it had political ramifications, a senior police officer told South First.