Teams of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) of the Bengaluru City Police probing the cheating case involving Hindutva hardliner Chaitra Kundapura have so far recovered a total of ₹2.25 crore from her.
She had allegedly taken this amount and more from 44-year-old industrialist Govinda Babu Poojary on the pretext of getting him a BJP ticket to contest May’s Karnataka Assembly elections.
A senior CCB official told South First that Chaitra, the prime accused, had a fixed deposit account of ₹1.8 crore opened in her name recently, which has been recovered along with ₹81 lakh in cash from her house, gold ornaments worth ₹23 lakh that she recently purchased, and a KIA car.
“She had also sold her mother’s old gold jewellery, which we have not included in the recoveries. We have only recovered and attached gold ornaments that we suspected to have been purchased with the proceeds of the crime,” a senior CCB official told South First.
According to the CCB, the prime accused in this cheating case so far appears to be Chaitra Kundapura and the absconding seer Abhinav Halasree from the Samsthana Matha at Hire Hadagali in Hospet in the Ballari district of Karnataka.
“The investigations carried out till now have revealed that the masterminds are both Chaitra Kundapura and Abhinav Halasree. Only after the seer’s arrest and confessional statements will we get to know if any other accused masterminded or conspired to this crime besides this duo,” the aforementioned CCB official said.
Abhinav Halasree, who is also a prominent personality in the Yuva Brigade movement started by right-wingers, was approached and consulted by Chaitra to “legitimise” whatever she was telling victims like Govinda Babu Poojary, and the seer too would take a cut or a donation for his matha, an officer privy to the investigation told South First.
The CCB has formed four special teams to nab Abhinav Halasree, who has so far managed to stay out of the net of the police officials closely pursuing him.
The cops managed to nab the seer’s driver on Saturday, but he managed to give them the slip.
Meanwhile, Chaitra was discharged from the hospital on Monday afternoon and returned to the CCB’s custody for further questioning while spot mahajars (inspections) were being carried out at several places in Bengaluru, Udupi, Chikkamagaluru, and Shivamogga.
During the course of the investigation and the recovery of the cheated proceeds of the crime, CCB officials learnt that Chaitra had been building a two-storey house in Udupi.
However, since the cops suspect that the building was being jointly constructed by Chaitra’s sister and her husband, they have not attached the property.
CCB collects crucial CCTV evidence
Meanwhile, the CCB sleuths collected crucial evidence in the case: The CCTV footage with audible conversations between Govinda Babu Poojary with Chaitra Kundapura, Gagan Kadur, Prasad Byndoor, and another person at Poojary’s office near Bandepalya in Southeast Bengaluru.
The footage was from a meeting in April, when Poojary called Chaitra Kundapura and Gagan Kadur to his office to ask them to return all the money they had taken from him for getting him a BJP ticket for the Karnataka Assembly elections.
He called them after getting to know that there was no RSS leader named “Vishwanath ji” who had died in Jammu and Kashmir, as Kadur and Chaitra had told him.
The CCTV footage submitted by Poojary to the CCB showed him demanding his money back from both Chaitra and Kadur, before she started questioning Kadur and blaming him for all the “miscommunication”.
Chaitra was reportedly heard in the footage asking Kadur to “not justify” what Poojary was asking for and to give proper clarification — as if she, too, had not been kept in the loop.
The footage apparently further showed Kadur attempting to drink a can of pesticide (poison) in front of everyone: He had carried it in his bag.
This appeared to be an effort to show that he, too, had become a victim of cheating as Vishwanath ji had taken the money and died, leaving everyone in the lurch.