A local court in Karnataka Wednesday remanded G M Abhinava Halaveerappajja, the chief pontiff of the Halashri Mutt in Vijayanagara, to 10 days of police custody.
Halaveerappajja, along with right-wing activist Chaitra Kundapura and others, have been accused of cheating businessman Govindbabu Poojary of Rs 5 crore by promising to give him a ticket to contest the Karnataka Assembly elections held earlier this year using their connections in the BJP and RSS.
The seer has been named the third accused in the case by the Bengaluru police’s Central Crime Branch. Poojary has alleged he paid Rs 1.5 crore out of the Rs 5 crore for the poll ticket to the seer after Kundapura and her associate Gagan Kadur, the BJP youth wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, asked him.
Halaveerappajja, who was absconding, was nabbed by the police Monday while he was travelling on a train near Cuttack in Odisha. The seer was produced before the court, which granted the police 10 days of custody.
The seer’s bail petition was adjourned to September 29.
Kundapura and six others have been arrested for reportedly cheating Poojary. Poojary had filed a police complaint on September 8 in Bengaluru over the alleged cheating incident that happened in 2022 when he was aspiring to contest the Karnataka Assembly election.
Presently, all these accused are in police custody.
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According to the First Information Report (FIR), the seer had received Rs 1.5 crore from Poojary. Later, he had sought a month’s time to return the money to Poojary and requested him not to drag his name into the controversy.
A police officer said after the FIR was filed, the seer had come to Mysuru to take some money. Later, he took a train to Andhra Pradesh and from there to Odisha. He had stopped using his mobile phone and was wearing a T-shirt when the police nabbed him, the officer added.