Cash-for-ticket scam: Karnataka seer arrested in Odisha

The police got a whiff that he was in Bhubaneswar and was leaving for Varanasi when he contacted a close aide here over the phone.

Published: 20th September 2023 06:17 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th September 2023 06:17 AM   |  A+A-


Image used for representational purpose only. (Express Illustrations)

By Express News Service

BENGALURU:  The seer of the Shri Halaswami Mahasamsthana Mutt in Hirehadagali near Hosapete, Abhinava Halaswamy, who was on the run for the last 10 days as the CCB were hot on his heels for allegedly cheating a businessman by promising a BJP ticket to contest from the Byndoor Assembly constituency, was arrested in Odisha. Sources in the CCB said the seer, who was changing places since the day right-wing activist Chaitra Kundapura was arrested in connection with a complaint filed by Govind Babu Pujari on September 8, was nabbed aboard a train when he was reportedly heading to Varanasi from Bhubaneswar, on Monday night. He is named accused no. 3 in the cheating case.

“The accused was absconding after a case was registered against him. Our teams were gathering information about him, but he kept changing places. Initially, he had gone to Mysuru and stayed there in a mutt, where he arranged multiple mobile handsets and SIM cards. From there, he left for Hyderabad. Meanwhile, his car driver was picked up for questioning and after learning of it, he fled to Odisha,” an officer said.

The police got a whiff that he was in Bhubaneswar and was leaving for Varanasi when he contacted a close aide here over the phone. “Soon, the Odisha police were alerted and the details of the accused were shared with them. The Cuttack police managed to nab him when he was onboard a train to Varanasi on Tuesday night,” the officer said, adding that the accused, to avoid easy identification, was wearing a T-shirt and shorts and not the usual ‘khavi’ (saffron) dress he wore when he was taken into custody.

A CCB team rushed to Odisha, following his detention. The complainant had alleged that he had given Rs 1.5 cr to the seer, allegedly following Chaitra’s instructions and the seer had received the money at his residence in Vijayanagar in Bengaluru, claiming that he knew PM Modi and would help him get the ticket. Meanwhile, Chitra, while in CCB custody, had claimed that the names of “big people” would come out once the seer was arrested.


Udupi: Right-wing activist Chaitra Kundapura, who was booked by the Bengaluru CCB police in connection with a cheating case, is also accused of cheating a person from Brahmavar to the tune of Rs 5 lakh. Chaitra allegedly cheated Sudina, 33, a resident of Kodi village in Brahmavar in Udupi district. In his complaint filed with the Kota police on Monday, Sudina stated that he was introduced to Chaitra in 2015. Chaitra had allegedly told Sudina that she has a close affinity with BJP leaders, ministers, and MLAs. Further, she promised to help him to set up clothing stores in Kota and Udupi, and took nearly Rs 5 lakh from him between 2018 and 2022. Later, when he contacted Chaitra, she did not respond properly and kept demanding more money from him, police said. When he developed suspicion, he demanded she set up the stores immediately. Meanwhile, she allegedly threatened to register a false sexual assault case against him and also issued a life threat.

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