In a major development the sleuths of a special wing of Karnataka City Central Crime Branch (CCB) arrested the absconding religious seer, Abhinava Halasri, in connection with BJP MLA ticket scam in Odisha, police said on Tuesday.
Prime accused Chaitra Kundapura, a Hindu activist had told to media while in custody that once the Abhinava Halasri is arrested, the involvement of big fish in BJP with regard to the scandal will come out. The questions were raised on the investigation as the seer was not arrested even after 10 days.
According to police, the seer was arrested in the Cuttack city of Odisha with the help of local police on Monday night. The seer was travelling in a train to Bodh Gaya from Bhubaneswar city. The accused seer will be brought to Bengaluru by evening.
Halasri is accused of receiving Rs 1.5 crore bribe from an industrialist Govind Babu Poojari promising him a BJP MLA ticket from Bainduru assembly constituency in Dakshina Kannada district. He allegedly formed a gang with prime accused Chaitra Kundapura in the scam.
Sources said that Halasri was wearing a t-shirt and travelling as a normal man in the train by shunning the saffron dress. He had disappeared following the arrest of Kundapura on September 12. The complaint was filed by the victim on September 8. He was attending a meeting when Kundapura was arrested in Udupi and he left the programme and went into hiding. He was planning to reach Kashi, sources said.
He had gone to Hyderabad, Farooqabad, Puri and Konark.
His arrest has raised curiosity in the case as he is expected to talk about his connections in BJP and RSS big wigs. The investigations have shown that the accused seer had made purchase of agricultural land and also invested in a petrol bunk.
Meanwhile, another FIR had been lodged against Kundapura in Udupi by BJP worker Sudheen at the Kota police station. It’s alleged that Kundapura had taken Rs 5 lakh from the complainant promising him getting a shop built for him. When questioned, Kundapura had threatened him of lodging a false rape case and getting him murdered. The police have registered a case under the IPC Sections 506, 417 and 420.