An astrologer in Karnataka — who boasted of high political connections to allegedly cheat several people of crores of rupees since 2014 — had also cheated an aspiring BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh of Rs 1.5 crore in 2015, court documents reveal. The BJP leader was promised the post of chairman of the Central Silk Board.
Fifty-two-year-old Yuvaraj Swami alias Sevalal was arrested in December 2020 by the crime branch of the Bengaluru Police.
In 2015, Yuvaraj introduced Anandha Kumar Kola, a BJP leader from Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh, to then textiles minister Santosh Gangwar, according to a recent court order rejecting his bail plea. According to the police complaint filed by Kola, details of which were part of the bail proceedings, he was then introduced to the astrologer as an influential leader in the BJP by his friend Krishna Rao. Yuvaraj subsequently took Kola to meet Gangwar and later demanded Rs 3 crore as payment—Rs 1,50,10,000 in advance—in exchange for his appointment as Central Silk Board chairman.
According to court documents, on the instruction of Kola, his brother Veerendra K “paid Rs 20,10,000 by way of account transfer, Rs 25,00,000 by way of cash deposit, and Rs 25,00,000 by way of cash”. And Kola himself gave Rs 45,00,000 to the astrologer and Rs 35,00,000 additionally at a five star hotel in Bengaluru. After collecting the funds, the astrologer allegedly began avoiding Kola and failed to deliver on the promise.
Gangwar had said he did not know of anyone by the name of Yuvaraj Swami. “I have no knowledge of such a person. Since I am a minister a lot of people come to meet me but I cannot recall anybody by this name. I will try to find out about him. If he has been arrested then legal action must be taken against him,” Gangwar had said.
However, Kola approached the Bengaluru police only in December 2020 following Yuvaraj’s arrest for allegedly cheating a Bengaluru businessman of Rs 1.5 crore. The businessman, K P Sudheendra Reddy, was promised the post of chairman of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation.
Investigation by the crime branch police has so far revealed that Yuvaraj also swindled a former BJP MP of Rs 20 crore by promising a Rajya Sabha nomination and a ministerial berth. A former Karnataka High Court judge also paid Rs 8.27 crore to the astrologer for being appointed as a state Governor.
It was only in December 2019 that Bengaluru crime branch police began investigating the astrologer. This, after receiving a letter from a businessman claiming he was cheated to the tune of Rs 10 crore.
In one such case filed against him, Yuvaraj has been accused of cheating a Mysuru businessman Gururaj Ravi of Rs 91 crore—the largest amount in the eight cheating cases lodged against the astrologer so far since December 2020. Incidentally, when Yuvaraj was arrested on December 16, 2020 for allegedly cheating a businessman of Rs 1.5 crore, the police had claimed to have found cheques for Rs 91 crore at his home.
Soon after his arrest, pictures of him in the company of state BJP leaders, considered to be rivals of CM Yediyurappa, were found by the police on his mobile phone and other devices, raising questions about whether he was linked in attempts to topple the state government of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa.
BJP MLA in Karnataka and former union minister Basavaraj Patil Yatnal said: “Yuvaraj has been arrested because he was involved in illegal work. A lot of politicians have paid him in crores. Many have paid him saying they want to become an MP, a Rajya Sabha member, a minister… A man who did not have anything is now the owner of properties worth crores. He now serves food and water to visitors in silver plates and cups. He got his photos taken even with our (BJP) national leaders.”
“The astrologer was not a man involved only in conning people, he also had real political connections and that is why so many people were willing to part with their money when he made promises to them,” police sources said.
A businessman in Bengaluru, Enith Kumar, who was also allegedly cheated of Rs 30 lakh last year, said that the conman claimed to be the nephew of a top BJP leader called “Santhoshji”. Kumar was also allegedly promised the chariman post of Central Silk Board.
Bail pleas filed by the astrologer in six cases registered by the crime branch have been rejected and the astrologer has now approached the Karnataka High Court for bail. He has been granted bail by a magistrate’s court only in the case of cheating the former high court judge B S Indrakala.
A court in Bengaluru had rejected a bail plea filed by the astrologer in the first case registered against him by referring to the police argument that he is “politically and financially very influential”. The astrologer has “contacts with powerful leaders of both state and central government”, the court noted.
Yuvaraj’s counsel, however, argued that “no prudent man would receive such huge amounts for an illegal cause”. Those claiming to have been cheated must be prosecuted under the Prevention of Corruption Act for staking claim to government posts by attempting to pay bribes to those in public service, his counsel had said.
A civil and sessions court in Bengaluru had ordered the provisional attachment of 26 properties, valued at over Rs 80 crore, belonging to the astrologer as part of efforts to recover the large amount of money allegedly swindled by him. The court was informed by the police that Yuvaraj acquired properties in the name of his wife
N Prema by using funds swindled from those who have filed cheating cases against him.
The Enforcement Directorate has begun a probe into possible money laundering by the astrologer and an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) has been registered to look into the financial activities of the alleged conman.