The BJP on Thursday, 14 September, sought to distance itself from Hindutva activist Chaitra Kundapura, who has been arrested in a case registered based on a complaint from a Bengaluru businessman that she and her associates conned him out of ₹5 crore.
In the complaint, lodged with the police in Bengaluru earlier this month, businessman Govinda Babu Poojary alleged that Chaitra and her associates defrauded him in the name of getting him a BJP ticket to contest the Karnataka Assembly elections — held in May this year — from the Byndoor constituency in the Udupi district of the state.
The police arrested Chaitra and two of her associates from the Udupi district on Tuesday.
Chaitra Kundapura: From hate speech against Islam to hiding in a Muslim home
Basavaraj Bommai weighs in
Former Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Thursday said the BJP had no connection with the case in connection with which Chaitra Kundapura had been arrested.
He added that the saffron party would seriously think about such elements misusing its image.
Bommai told reporters in Mangaluru that the truth would come out after the investigation and everyone involved in the case should be arrested.
On Chaitra Kundapura’s statement that names of prominent leaders involved in the case would be revealed, Bommai said, “Let the names come out. The investigation has started and everyone involved should get punishment.”
According to the complaint based on which Chaitra was arrested, she claimed to have been close to the RSS and BJP leadership — close enough to get the complainant a BJP ticket for the Karnataka Assembly polls from a seat of his choosing.
Chaitra has for some time also been accused of delivering hate speeches targeting minority communities.
The alleged con
Poojary, in his complaint to the police, said Chaitra and her associates took ₹5 crore from him over three instances on the pretext of getting him a BJP ticket in the Karnataka Assembly elections that were held in May.
According to Central Crime Branch (CCB) officials investigating the case, Poojary came in contact with Chaitra in June 2022. She posed as a social worker and flaunted her proximity with the RSS and BJP leadership, they added.
Poojary expressed interest in contesting the Karnataka Assembly elections, and was a few days later introduced to one Gagan Kadur, who was said to be the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) general secretary for Chikkamagaluru.
Kadur allegedly assured him that he would try to get an MLA ticket for the industrialist through a senior RSS leader named Vishwanath ji, a native of Chikkamagaluru who lived in North India.
On 4 July, 2022, both Chaitra and Kadur facilitated a meeting between Poojary and Vishwanath ji, introduced as a member of the BJP’s Central Election Committee and also a coordinator between the RSS and the BJP.
Vishwanath ji allegedly asked Poojary to give ₹50 lakh to Kadur before the process of choosing the candidates began. Once it began, he would have to pay ₹3 crore, the industrialist said in the complaint.
Vishwanath ji also assured Poojary that if he was not chosen as a candidate, all his money would be returned, with Chaitra being the guarantor.
On 7 July, 2022, Poojary gave Kadur ₹50 lakh in front of the Shivamogga RSS office, he said in the complaint.
In September 2022, Vishwanath ji directed Poojary to meet a matha seer named Abhinava Halasree whose recommendation apparently played a vital role in the decision on someone getting a BJP ticket from the Byndoor constituency.
Poojary said in his complaint that the seer asked him for another ₹1.5 crore. The businessman paid all these sums, and was assured that his name was on the list of BJP candidates for the Assembly polls.
However, on 8 March this year, Poojary received a phone call stating that Vishwanath ji had died in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sensing something amiss, Poojary checked with one of his friends — a retired defence officer in Kashmir — who confirmed to him that there was no RSS leader or campaigner by the name of Vishwanath ji there.
In April, Poojary called Chaitra Kundapura and Gagan Kadur to his office and asked them to return his money.
According to Poojary, they told him that ₹3.5 crore was with Vishwanath ji. When he said he would file a police complaint, Chaitra allegedly said she would attempt suicide and implicate him in the case.
The next day, Poojary met with the seer and asked him to return his ₹1.5 crore. The seer not only assured him that he would return the money, but also requested him to keep him out of the issue.
However, according to the complaint, the seer returned only a paltry sum, saying the rest would be returned later.
Poojary then contacted a friend named Manjunath — also a right-wing activist in Chikkamagaluru — who determined that Vishwanath was actually an unemployed person named Ramesh who was offered ₹1.2 lakh to impersonate an RSS leader and given training to act like one.
Manjunath also told Poojary that Chaitra and her associates used one Srikanth Nayak Pelattur, who worked as a Kabab vendor in the KR Puram area of Bengaluru, in the con.
Armed with all the information, Poojary once again confronted Chaitra and Kadur, but she threatened him back.
When Poojary did not budge and kept demanding his money back, she said she knew people from the underworld, and threatened to have him “eliminated”. It was then that Poojary decided to approach the police for help.
The CCB police have arrested six out of the seven accused, including Chaitra Kundapura, Abhinav Halasree, and Gagan Kadur, a local politician in Chikkamagaluru.
They are also probing whether these people were involved in similar crimes.