Bengaluru: The Karnataka City Central Crime Branch (CCB) has arrested fugitive religious leader Abhinava Halasri in connection with the BJP MLA ticket scandal. Halasri is accused of accepting a bribe of Rs 1.5 crore from industrialist Govind Babu Poojari, promising him a BJP MLA ticket. He was arrested in Cuttack, Odisha, on Monday night and is expected to be transported to Bengaluru later today.
The arrest comes after the prime accused, Chaitra Kundapura, a Hindu activist, suggested to the media that the involvement of prominent figures within the BJP in the scandal would surface once Abhinava Halasri was taken into custody. The delay in the seer’s arrest had raised questions during the investigation.
Halasri was found travelling on a train from Bhubaneswar City to Bodh Gaya, dressed inconspicuously in a t-shirt and had abandoned his saffron attire. He had gone into hiding following Chaitra Kundapura’s arrest on September 12.
Meanwhile, in a separate development, another FIR has been filed against Chaitra Kundapura in Udupi by BJP worker Sudheen at the Kota police station. The complaint alleges that Kundapura accepted Rs 5 lakh from the complainant, promising to construct a shop for him. When questioned, Kundapura allegedly threatened him with false rape accusations and harm. The police have registered a case against Kundapura under IPC Sections 506, 417, and 420.