Kannada actor Darshan arrested for murder

Accused of orchestrating killing of fan, who posted 'lewd' messages about star's female friend
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 06:18 IST
Last Updated : 11 June 2024, 06:18 IST

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Bengaluru: Popular Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa and 12 of his close associates were arrested on Tuesday for the sensational murder of a 33-year-old man, who posted offensive messages about the film star's female friend, Pavithra Gowda, on Instagram. 

Darshan, 47, an A-lister in Kannada cinema, was picked up from a luxury hotel in Mysuru, his hometown, on Tuesday morning, sending shockwaves through Karnataka. 

While this isn't Darshan's first brush with the law, the murder allegation might cast a shadow on his illustrious career that has earned him the sobriquet 'Challenging Star'. 

Darshan and the 12 others are accused of murdering Renukaswamy, a resident of Chitradurga and a fan of the actor's. 

Given the gravity of the offence, a Bengaluru court has sent the actor and the other suspects in six days of police custody. 

"Preliminary investigations revealed that the incident occurred due to the derogatory messages," Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda told a news conference. "CCTV footage and technical evidence helped us identify the victim." 

Police said Renukaswamy targeted Pavithra in his Instagram comments, suggesting she was a "third wheel" between Darshan and his wife Vijayalakshmi. 

Riled by the comments, Pavithra, a small-time actress in her late-30s, complained to Darshan. 

Police believe that the actor decided to confront Renukaswamy. He asked Raghavendra, a member of his fan association in Chitradurga, to bring Renukaswamy to Bengaluru, police sources said. 

On the evening of June 8, Raghavendra brought Renukaswamy to a shed in western Bengaluru's RR Nagar. The land belongs to Pattanagere Jayanna, a local businessman and the uncle of one of the suspects. 

Some of the other suspects were already present in the shed. They abused and beat up Renukaswamy, dismissing his protestations that he was also a fan of the actor's. Police suspect Darshan, too, was present at the time. 

The spot in Kamakshipalya where Renukaswamy's body was found recently.

The spot in Kamakshipalya where Renukaswamy's body was found recently.

Credit: Police source

CCTV footage reviewed by DH shows two cars — a dark SUV and a red Jeep Wrangler, purportedly belonging to Darshan — leaving the shed at 3:27:13 am on June 9. 

Around 8 am on June 9, a security officer at the Sattva Anugraha apartment complex in Sumanahalli found the body discarded on the road next to a stormwater drain. He called the police. There were injury marks on the head, face, ears and other body parts. Dogs had gnawed at some places. 

After identifying the victim, the jurisdictional Kamakshipalya police opened a case of murder and destroying evidence. 



Credit: DH Photo

While police launched an investigation, four suspects — including Karthik and Keshava Murthy — surrendered before the police the same day, claiming they had killed Renukaswamy over a financial dispute. 

However, police found their confessions suspicious and decided to probe further. The suspects revealed the names of their accomplices and eventually implicated Darshan, a well-placed police source told DH

A police team was sent to Mysuru to detain Darshan. Pavithra and seven other suspects were also arrested. 

After over seven hours of questioning, police took Darshan and all other suspects for medical check-ups at to Bowring Hospital in Shivajinagar. The 24th ACMM court remanded all of them in police custody for six days. 

Police have also invoked IPC Section 120B related to criminal conspiracy. 

The other suspects are Vinay V, Nagaraju R, Laxman M, Pradosh S, Pawan K, Deepak Kumar M, Nandish and Nikhil Nayak.

Published 11 June 2024, 05:38 IST

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