Updated: February 13, 2021 9:28:32 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has opened up a probe into possible money laundering by an astrologer arrested in December by the Bengaluru Police crime branch on charges of duping politicians, a former Karnataka HC judge and businessmen of over Rs 80 crore by flaunting connections to top Central and state political leaders.
The agency has registered an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) to look at the financial activities of Yuvaraj Swami alias Yuvaraj Ramdas alias Sevalal, 52, who is an accused in as many as 14 cases of cheating in Bengaluru, an ED official said.
Swami is accused of promising his victims high positions in the government – including that of Governor, MP, Union minister, as well as top positions in boards and corporations run by the Central and state governments – and swindling huge funds from them.
Swami is alleged to have taken retired Karnataka High Court judge Justice B S Indrakala to Delhi and introduced her to several leaders to gain her confidence in order to get her to part with over Rs 8 crores for the promise of a high government position in 2018-19.
A former BJP MP is also alleged to have paid over Rs 10 crore to Swami, who promised his re-nomination as well as a ministerial position. The former MP has not filed a formal complaint but associates are reported to have petitioned the police in December 2019 about the swindle.
Swami was initially arrested by the Bengaluru Police on December 16 after businessman K P Sudheendra Reddy filed a complaint on December 14, saying that he was cheated of Rs 1.5 crore by the astrologer, who promised to make him the chairman of the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation by using his connections in the government.
After Swami was arrested, several other people came forward with similar complaints, including Indrakala, BJP leader Anandha Kumar Kola and a member of the Kalahasti temple trust in Andhra Pradesh.
A civil and sessions court in Bengaluru recently 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 alleged to have been swindled by him.
Earlier this week, a court in Bengaluru rejected a bail plea filed by the astrologer in the case filed by Reddy by referring to the police argument that Swami is “politically and financially very influential”.
In the course of the hearing, Swami’s advocates argued that “no prudent man would receive such huge amounts for an illegal cause”. They argued that the persons who are 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 people in public service.
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