The arrest of a conman in Bengaluru who cheated people by taking money and offered plum government posts and government tender projects in the garb of having close ties with RSS and BJP leaders, turned murkier by the day.
Until recently no one dared to raise a voice against the man as the money they gave him was nothing but a bribe to get a higher government post or party tickets. From a member of parliament to MLAs and bureaucrats and even a retired judge seem to have fallen prey to the conman.
Yuvraj Swamy alias Sevalal Sangana Basava Swami, an imposter, clad in a white shirt and white dhoti with a vermilion dab on his forehead, cheated people for two decades donning several roles — an educationist, an astrologer, a mutt chief, CM Yediyurappa’s political advisory and now a close confidante of RSS and BJP leaders.
The incident came to light after an ex-MP, who feared talking about bribing the man, complained to the police through a third party, after the regime change in Karnataka in 2019. Following this the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police in Bengaluru began probing the case in December 2020.
The police claim they seized ₹26 lakh in cash and over 100 cheques worth ₹91 crore from his residence in the city. The investigating officers also said the phone records of Yuvraj revealed he had interacted with several BJP leaders and was having numbers of top leaders, including that of central leaders.
As the scam came to light, photographs of the accused with BJP leaders and ministers like Laxman Savadi, Murgesh Nirani, CP Yogeshwar, V Somanna, among others, started to float on social media platforms. Following this, more people came forward to complain about the accused.
In a latest, a retired judge B S Indrakala, deposed before the CCB claiming the accused had taken ₹8.8 crore by promising to get her appointed as governor. The retired judge also accused a retired Superintendent of Police (SP) of mediating their meeting.
Yuvraj had duped several people on such pretext. He befriended VVIPs in airports and political functions and bragged about his connections. The former MP had allegedly given Yuvraj ₹20 crore over a period of time. The politician told the police that he tried getting back the money for three year, even as Yuvraj turned evasive and abused his team.
His arrest also turned political after the CCB summoned actor Radhika Kumaraswamy (linked to former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy) in connection with some money transfer from the accused. Yuvraj had given ₹75 lakh in two installments (₹15 lakh and ₹60 lakh) from two different accounts to Radhika to apparently cast her in a movie. The police quoted her as saying Yuvraj was introduced to her by her father.
Back in 2002, Yuvraj alias Sevalal started a dental college in Bengaluru without taking requisite approval from the Dental Council of India and other statutory bodies. The students, who had paid thousands of rupees in donation, were not allowed to sit for exams as the government did not recognise the institution. The students who were left in the lurch took to the streets to protest and lodge a complaint against Sevalal.
While the accused was arrested in 2004 and remained in jail for nearly four months, he got bail soon after and went absconding. The man re-appeared with a different name and operated from five star hotels close to the CM’s residence in Bengaluru when Yediyurappa was the Chief Minister in 2008.
The police said the man just wanted to flaunt his fake political connections by being close to powerful people. But as people flocked to him seeking help, he just grabbed the opportunity to continue to cheat people over the years.
Minister Somanna claimed he had visited Yuvraj’s house several times, but said he was not aware of the fraudster’s wrongdoings. But former MLC and BJP spokesperson G Madhusudhan claimed that Yuvraj, married to a Gowda clan woman, had requested for a party ticket for his wife and had worked in the party at some point in time.
“Merely because one clicked photos with some leaders does not amount to a crime (on the part of politicians). The police and the authorities concerned are investigating the case. Let’s wait and see what details emerge,” Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said while responding to media queries in Koppal.