BENGALURU, HAVERI: In a curious development, a lawyer has filed a complaint with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against businessman Govinda Babu Pujari. The latter had accused Hindu activist Chaitra Kundapur of cheating him of Rs 5 crore with the promise of a BJP ticket for the Assembly election following which she and a few others were arrested.
Advocate Nataraj Sharma, in his complaint with the ED, noted that the Rs 5 crore could be hawala money obtained through money laundering and questioned how Govinda Babu Pujari could transact with such huge amounts of cash. In his complaint, Pujari himself has admitted to giving Rs 5 crore in cash, the advocate pointed out.
“Paying Rs 5 crore for a party ticket is murder of democracy. Govinda Babu Pujari was doing business in Mumbai and won’t he know not to transact such huge amounts in cash? I have lodged a complaint as this may be hawala money. The police should have registered a suo motu case. The ED should investigate this”, he said.
Meanwhile, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police are continuing questioning of godman Abhinava Halasree. He reportedly admitted that he had taken Rs 1.5 crore from Govinda Babu Pujari with the promise of getting him an Assembly ticket. He also said that he had returned Rs 50 lakh and that the rest of the cash was in his ashram at Hirehadagali in Hoovinahadagali taluk of Haveri district.
The police, who conducted an inspection of the Sadguru Shivayogi Halaswamy Ashram, have recovered Rs 56 lakh from there. Abhinava Halasree had revealed to the police that he had kept the cash in the ‘adda pallaki’. The police are investigating whether the cash is what was taken from Govinda Babu Pujari or from others.
Abhinava Halasree was taken into the ashram alone for the spot inspection and did not allow even his family members into his room. When the family members, including his wife, father and uncle, sought to speak to him, the police said that they could do so outside the ashram. However, Abhinava Halasree did not speak to them and left along with the police team.
In a related development, Pranav Prasad, who had kept Rs 56 lakh in Abhinava Halasree’s ashram yesterday, presented himself before the CCB following a notice issued to him. The CCB has also issued notices to Thippeswamy Lakshman, who are close associates of Halasree, and to Manju, an associate of Chaitra, to appear for questioning.