RTI activist, another man held for extortion

Girinagar police nabbed two persons, including an RTI activist, while they were allegedly accepting Rs 10 lakh ‘extortion’ money from two representatives of Shree Ramachandrapura Mutt and Dharmachakra Trust at a hotel in Seshadripuram on Tuesday. 

The suspects were: Mallikarjun Patil (46) , a resident of Sarjapura and a native of Lingasugur taluk, Raichur district and Chandan M C (30), of Gokul 1st Phase, Mathikere, said the police.

The police caught them at Vittal’s Regency Hotel in Seshadripuram while they were allegedly accepting money and recovered Rs 10 lakh, two cellphones and a laptop, said Girinagar police.

According to police, Patil contacted K G Bhat, the chief executive officer of Shree Ramachandrapura Mutt and Dharmachakra Trust near Swami Vivekananda Park in Girinagar a month ago and claimed that a public interest litigation had been filed before the High Court in connection with financial irregularities at the institution.

He claimed that Bhat would be in trouble if he did not settle the matter and also said that the Mutt pontiff would be arrested if the matter was not resolved at the earliest. He demanded Rs 10 crore to withdraw the PIL and finally settled for Rs 5 crore. He was pressuring Bhat to pay him at least Rs 10 lakh as advance, police said.

Sensing some foul play, Bhat lodged a complaint with the police. As per the advice of the police, the Mutt legal advisor Arun Shyam and secretary Mohan Hegde went to the hotel with the money, while police officers in mufti followed them. 

The police caught them while collecting money and the duo were remanded in police custody for further interrogation, added the police.

Chandan runs Astra, a non-government organisation. He was allegedly involved in a rape case. Patil has a degree in law, but is not practising, added the police. 

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