Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa, girlfriend face heat in bizarre murder saga | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa, girlfriend face heat in bizarre murder saga

By, Bengaluru
Jun 12, 2024 08:36 AM IST

Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa and partner held for plotting murder of man who sent inappropriate messages to her. 17 arrests made in the case.

Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa and his partner Pavithra Gowda were on Monday held for plotting the elaborate murder of a 33-year-old man from Bengaluru who allegedly sent the latter inappropriate messages on social media, said police, outlining the details in a twisted saga that has stunned Karnataka and baffled investigators.

Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa (ANI)
Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa (ANI)

Police, who have so far made 17 arrests in the case, said an associate of Darshan (47) allegedly persuaded the victim, Renukaswamy, to travel to Bengaluru from Chitradurga on Saturday on the pretext of meeting the popular actor. Darshan’s men then allegedly kidnapped, tortured, and murdered Renukaswamy, who investigators said sent derogatory messages to Gowda (35) over her relationship with the married actor, in what could be a possible trigger for the killing.

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Darshan has been married for 21 years.

Renukaswamy, who worked at a pharmacy in Chitradurga, married on June 28 last year. His wife, Sahana, is five months pregnant, said police.

His body was found in a stormwater drain in Summanahalli, Bengaluru, on June 9 and injuries on the corpse pointed to foul play, said Bengaluru police chief B Dayananda.

The body was found by a security guard, Keval Ram Dorji, who then filed a police complaint, after which police filed an FIR under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of an offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Photographs of the corpse show injuries and burn marks across the body. Police said the victim was attacked on his head and genitalia.

Three people who were initially arrested said they killed the 33-year-old over a financial dispute. However, their differing responses during interrogations prompted investigators to widen their probe. Further investigations revealed Darshan’s involvement.

A senior police officer said phone call records between Darshan’s associates and Raghavendra, the district president of Darshan’s fan association in Chitradurga, provided crucial evidence.

“Darshan contacted Raghu and asked him to bring Renukaswamy to Bengaluru,” said Dayananda.

“He was brought to a five-acre parking lot,where seized vehicles are stored. He was assaulted there. Investigators traced Darshan and the other suspects’ phones to that location. CCTV footage also shows a car registered in Darshan’s name leaving the parking lot,” said the officer.

Dayananda said that Darshan’s wife, Vijayalakshmi, sparred with Gowda on social media after she posted videos celebrating “10 years of relationship” with the former.

Renukaswamy then allegedly began trolling Gowda and posting derogatory messages.

In September-October 2011, the actor spent a month in jail after being arrested for assaulting Vijayalakshmi. He was acquitted in the case in 2013.

Police said Gowda was the prime suspect and Darshan (47) the secondary suspect, as a court in Bengaluru remanded them in police custody for six days. Police have also arrested 15 other people, including security personnel, and fan association members, in connection with the case.

Darshan, who featured in several commercially successful films, including ‘Kariya’, ‘Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna’, ‘Kalasipalya’, ‘Gaja’, ‘Navagraha’, ‘Saarathi’, ‘Bulbul’, ‘Yajamana’, ‘Robert’ and ‘Kaatera’, was arrested from a Mysuru hotel, said police.

Renukaswamy’s family was distraught.

“He was my only son. He got married last year. I spoke to him just on Saturday. I want justice,” said his father, Srinivasaiah.

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