Fraud-accused Hindutva hardliner Chaitra Kundapura reportedly developed epileptic seizures during her questioning session on Friday, 15 September, and was admitted to the Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru.
Chaitra is the prime accused in the case in which Bengaluru-based industrialist Govinda Babu Poojary was allegedly duped of ₹5 crore in his quest for a BJP ticket to contest the Karnataka Assembly elections, which were held in May.
Friday was Day 2 of Chaitra’s interrogation by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) officials of the Bengaluru City Police.
CCB officials confirmed to South First that she admitted to the crime after she was confronted with the statements involving her by the other accused persons, who also confessed to their role in the crime.
According to the CCB officials, Chaitra admitted that the gang had cheated the industrialist over a BJP MLA ticket.
However, she also alleged that she was used in the plot as a Hindutva activist, and put the blame of the entire crime on Accused No 2 Gagan Kadur, they added.
She reportedly said Kadur took the calls and decided on how to park the money with the other accused, including seer Abhinav Halasree, who is on the run.
However, a couple of hours into her questioning, she developed epileptic seizures and was shifted to the Victoria Hospital for treatment, said the officials.
“She had told us that she had a history of epileptic seizures, and we confirmed it with her doctor. She has been admitted to the Victoria Hospital, where expert doctors are treating her,” a CCB official told South First, adding that her family was also informed about the development.
Other accused who admitted to the crime
The others who reportedly confessed to the crime include Accused No 4 Ramesh, who had acted temporarily as the fictitious character Vishawanath ji, a top RSS leader staying in North India who apparently died of respiratory ailments while he was in Kashmir after the money was taken from Poojary.
The other two are Accused No 5 BL Channa Naik, who was introduced to Poojary as a member of the BJP’s Central Election Committee, and Accused No 8 Prasad Byndoor, who allegedly introduced Poojary to Chaitra Kundapura and Gagan Kadur.
CCB officials confirmed that all three accused admitted to their crimes. “We will turn a few of the accused into witnesses in the case as each of them had specific roles to play without full knowledge of the cheating plot,” they told South First.
According to a CCB official, Channa Naik had only three minutes of interaction with Poojary at the Kumara Krupa Guest House in Bengaluru, for which he was paid ₹93,000.
Naik, who works as a kabab vendor in KR Puram, was dressed up like a politician with make-up. Naik was also trained to speak a few Hindi sentences and strictly told to utter names suffixed with “ji“.
Naik was also asked to hand over an envelope to Poojary and tell him that he was impressed with his work, and that he would put in a word to Vishwanath ji.
Naik was then tutored to say that it was time for his flight and leave the group that had Chaitra Kundapura, Gagan Kadur, and Poojary.
For this acting session, Naik was promised ₹1 lakh by both Chaitra and Kadur. However, Kadur paid Naik only ₹93,000, telling him that he had spent ₹7,000 for transport and other things, CCB officials quoted Naik as telling them during questioning.
Meanwhile, Ramesh, who briefly acted as Vishwanath ji, was taken to a salon in Chikkamagaluru and was groomed to look like an RSS leader who was in a photograph that Chaitra and Gagan had with them.
He was introduced to Poojary by both Chaitra and Kadur at a government guest house in Chikkamagaluru, where Vishwanath ji (Ramesh) assured the businessman that he would get him a BJP ticket, and also discussed how he needed to pay an advance of ₹50 lakh and ₹3 crore later, CCB sources told South First.
While all these dramas were enacted for a lone audience, both Chaitra and Kadur told all the other accused that they should not exchange phone numbers with Poojary.
They were also tutored on what to say if Poojary asked for their contact numbers or addresses, the officials said.
Chaitra Kundapura: From hate speech against Islam to hiding in Muslim home
On the seer’s trail
Meanwhile, the seer identified as Abhinav Halasree — the lone accused in the case who is still on the run — is yet to be arrested.
“We have had seven accused parties in our custody for 10 days, and we have to carry out all the spot mahajars (inspections) of all the transactions carried out and the conspiracy meetings,” a senior CCB official told South First.
“We have cash recoveries to make. We are in pursuit of a KIA car and are closing in on the accused seer who is on the run,” he added, hinting that his arrest would be made on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday.