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HomeBangaloreRight-wing activist Chaithra Kundapura is latest to face cheating charges in Karnataka...

Right-wing activist Chaithra Kundapura is latest to face cheating charges in Karnataka over fake promises in BJP name

The arrest of firebrand right-wing activist Chaitra Kundapura and her associates by the Bengaluru police for allegedly cheating a businessman of Rs 4 crore by promising to deliver a BJP ticket to contest the Assembly polls in May this year is the latest in a series of scams in Karnataka where people have been conned with big promises by people claiming to have high links in the BJP.

On September 13, Kundapura, 28, and her three associates were arrested by the Bengaluru Central Crime Branch police for allegedly cheating businessman Govindbabu Poojary, 44, by promising to get him a BJP ticket to contest elections from Byndoor Assembly segment in the coastal Karnataka district of Udupi.

Kundapura and her associates, including a BJP Yuva Morcha secretary, claimed to have contacts with the offices of the Prime Minister and the home minister and connections with RSS leaders who could deliver party tickets for Poojary.

He allegedly paid up to Rs 5 crore – including Rs 3 crore that was touted as payments to a leader who was part of the BJP national election committee – to Kundapura and her associates after he was introduced to one of the tricksters who claimed to be an RSS leader. Poojary filed a police complaint after he was not given a BJP ticket for the polls and Kundapura and her associates began evading him.

The police have registered cases under Indian Penal Code sections 406 (criminal breach of trust), 419 (cheating by personation), 420 (cheating), 170 (pretends to hold any particular office as public servant), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 120(b) (criminal conspiracy).

In 2020, the Bengaluru Crime Branch police arrested astrologer Yuvaraj Ramadas alias Swami alias Sevalal, 55, who boasted of high connections in the BJP and cheated several people of crores of rupees between 2014 and 2020 by promising positions of a governor, cabinet minister and Rajya Sabha member, among others.

Swami allegedly introduced a BJP leader from Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh, Anandha Kumar Kola, to the then Union textiles minister Santosh Gangwar in 2015 to convince Kola to cough up Rs 1.5 crore to become chairman of the Central Silk Board.

Kola filed a police complaint after the promise was not delivered despite payments. In his police complaint, Kola, who was also a trustee of the Kalahasti temple in Andhra Pradesh, said he was introduced to Swami as an influential leader in the BJP in 2015. After collecting Rs 1.5 crore, the astrologer allegedly began avoiding Kola and failed to deliver on his promise.

Investigations by the Bengaluru Crime Branch police revealed that Swami swindled a former BJP MP of Rs 20 crore by promising renomination to Parliament and a ministerial position, and a former Karnataka High Court judge of Rs 8.27 crore by promising a posting as a Governor by using his contacts.

The retired high court judge B S Indrakala paid the astrologer Rs 3.77 crore through RTGS and a sum of Rs 4.50 crore allegedly in cash. Swami allegedly took the judge to Delhi to meet top leaders to convince her to make the payments in the 2018-2019 period. The retired judge filed a formal complaint with the police in December 2020 (following the arrest of the astrologer) of being cheated with the promise of a high position in the government.

The attempt by a former high court judge to secure a governor’s post by bribing a politically connected astrologer had lowered the prestige of a judge and the image of the governor’s post, the Karnataka High Court observed in 2021 during a bail hearing for the astrologer in a cheating case.

A businessman in Bengaluru, Enith Kumar, was also allegedly cheated by the astrologer of Rs 30 lakh in 2020 by promising to make him the chairman of the Central Silk Board. Kumar’s complaint said the conman claimed to be the nephew of a top BJP leader ‘Santhoshji’.

A 65-year-old doctor in Bengaluru, Narasimha Swamy, alleged that Swami cheated him of Rs 30 lakh by promising to get his son a government job by using BJP and RSS contacts.

The police initially began investigating Swami after receiving a letter in December 2019 from businessman Shashikanth Bondre claiming he was cheated of Rs 10 crore.

Police sources said Swami would approach gullible people, charm them with personal facts from their lives and then claim to forecast great things for them by donning his astrologer hat.

In 2022, there were two cases filed in central Bengaluru over the alleged misuse of the name of the Karnataka governor by con artists to dupe BJP workers of funds.

In one case, local BJP leader K R Venkatesh was convinced by two persons from Delhi claiming to represent an organisation called the ‘Indian Journalist Compendium’ that he would be given an award at the Raj Bhavan by Governor Thawarchand Gehlot on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day – if an amount of Rs 1 lakh was paid to them.

Venkatesh allegedly paid the amount through an associate on August 10 and 11 and was asked by the fraudsters to visit Raj Bhavan on August 16 to attend the award ceremony. However, when he did so, he learned that no award ceremony was scheduled at the Raj Bhavan.

The businessman, a former spokesperson for the BJP, filed a complaint of cheating against Gyan Prakash and Giridhar Jha from Delhi with the Vidhana Soudha police soon after realising that he had been cheated.

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In another case from 2022 involving the misuse of the name of the Raj Bhavan, the police arrested a man identified as Sadrullah Khan after a special secretary to the Governor alleged that a person identified as Dr. Sadrullah Khan had been posing as a secretary to the Governor to approach people with offers of appointments to state universities to cheat them of funds.

According to the police complaint by R Prabhushankar from the Raj Bhavan, the cheating suspect defrauded three persons Santhosh S, Mallikarjun Balekai, and Geetha Sashikumar by collecting funds and promising appointments in state universities through his role as a functionary of the Raj Bhavan. Incidentally, the victims are local BJP members or leaders.

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Sashikumar was allegedly told that she would be made a member of the state-run Rajiv Gandhi Health University syndicate and was provided fake documents, according to the police complaint by the Raj Bhavan official.

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