BENGALURU: L Somanna alias MLC Somanna, who was on the run since last week after he escaped police custody, was caught by a team of Basaveshwaranagar police on Friday. Three people, including a software engineer, were also arrested for giving him shelter. Somanna, who had cheated people by claiming that he was contesting for elections, reportedly told the police that he escaped to file nomination to contest from Molakalmuru.
Somanna was arrested by the Basaveshwaranagar police in the last week of March. He has cheated several people to the tune of several crores of rupees. He had escaped from police custody on April 12, when he was taken to Chitradurga for property recovery. Sources said that he was changing places to evade arrest and had gone to Molakalmur in Chitradurga, Davanagere, Mysuru, Nagamangala in Mandya district, Devanahalli and several other places. “We had kept a close watch on all his close associates. He contacted a couple known to him and they agreed to give him shelter and arranged another person to keep him safe. Once he was caught, the three people who had helped him were also arrested. All four were produced before a magistrate and are remanded in judicial custody,” a source said.
The arrested persons are Balaji and his wife, Sarita, residents of Sahakaranagar, and Vijaykumar, a resident of Devanahalli and a farmer, who gave shelter to Somanna. Balaji is a software engineer while Sarita is a housewife. “Somanna’s children and Balaji’s children were studying in the same school and that is how they had became close. Somanna, who was changing places to not get arrested, contacted Balaji, and we came to know. Before we went to him, Balaji had asked Vijaykumar to protect Somanna. Finally, we got credible tip-off about Somanna and was caught while he was at Nrupatunga Road on Friday,” the source said, adding that soon after his arrest, the couple and Vijaykumar were also arrested.
When the police grilled Somanna about why he had escaped, he is said to have told that he wanted to file nomination to contest for the elections. “We knew that he was serious about trying his luck in politics. But we were taken aback when he told that he escaped from police custody thinking that he will get a chance to file nomination and contest from Molakalmur assembly constituency in Chitradurga. As he belonged to Nayak community, he had decided to contest from Molakalmur, where there are more than 40,000 votes of the community. He had also organised events like distribution of free sarees and free meals to build a strong vote base,” the source said.