Former minister Varthur Prakash kidnapped, forced to pay Rs 48 lakh ransom

News Network
December 2, 2020

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Bengaluru, Dec 2: Former minister Varthur Prakash and his driver were allegedly kidnapped on November 25, brutally assaulted and held to ransom by a gang of eight kidnappers who had demanded Rs 30 crore for their release. Preliminary investigations revealed that Prakash had a dispute over a piece of land and had received threat calls, a senior police officer said.

However, unverified accounts also point to the abduction being linked to the ex-minister’s involvement in cattle trade as he owes huge amounts to farmers and traders in Tamil Nadu from whom he had purchased cattle. 

Prakash, in his complaint filed on Tuesday, alleged that on November 25, he and his driver Suneel were at a farmhouse located in Begli Hosahalli in Kolar and had left in his SUV to reach Kolar. Around 7pm, a gang of eight came in two cars and blocked his SUV.

The gang allegedly threatened the duo with lethal weapons and forced Prakash into one of their vehicles. The men tied their hands and legs and demanded `30 crore. Prakash and his driver were assaulted inside the car when the former refused to give them money even as they were driven around Chintamani, Hoskote and around Bengaluru.

Prakash’s kidnappers on the run: Police 

Unable to take it any more, Prakash allegedly contacted his friend Nayaz, asking him to bring Rs 48 lakh in cash. The kidnappers took the cash in Kolar, but again resorted to torturing Prakash and his driver until midnight. In the wee hours on November 27, his driver Suneel lost consciousness.The gang assumed him to be dead and pushed him out of the car.

The police said that Suneel regained consciousness after a while and managed to escape. Fearing they would be caught by the police, the kidnappers took Prakash to an open ground near Shivanapura and threw him out of the vehicle. Passersby helped Prakash to a hospital in KR Puram where he was treated.

Prakash’s abandoned Toyota Fortuner SUV was found near the Halanahalli graveyard in Bellandur with at least 1 kg of chilli powder strewn around in the vehicle. Prakash and his driver sustained severe cut injuries on their legs.

Whitefield DCP D Devaraj told The New Indian Express that an FIR has been registered. The kidnappers had reportedly blindfolded Prakash and Suneel. Two special teams have been formed to nab them and CCTV footage has been obtained to track movements of the vehicles used by the gang.Varthur Prakash, hailing from the backward Kuruba community, was elected back-to-back for two terms from Kolar Assembly constituency between 2008-2018 and is leader of the Namma Congress Party. He was minister in the BJP government headed by D V Sadananda Gowda and Jagadish Shettar.

His brother Ramanand confirmed that he had been abducted and released.Incidentally, on January 30, 2018, Kolar Rural police had registered an FIR against six persons, including Varthur Prakash, then MLA of Kolar, in connection with grabbing land belonging to a Dalit family by creating fake documents and threatening their lives.

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News Network
January 6,2021

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Mysore, Jan 6: Karnataka is on high alert to contain the spread of avian influenza as it blocked entry of poultry and other birds from Kerala on Wednesday.

The district administration at the Bodhi check post in the Kote taluk of Mysore-Kerala Border blocked the entry of poultry from Kerala following the bird flu outbreak in the state, informed Mysore District Collector Rohini Sindhuri.
The step comes after avian flu took lives of thousands of ducks in Kerala. Both the state governments -- Kerala and Karnataka -- have been on alert since then.

Several steps have been taken to sanitise the vehicles coming from Kerala to Karnataka to avoid any kind of disease spread. The Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Medical Services has increased security at the border check posts.

District Collector Sindhuri directed in a notice that chickens, wild birds, pet birds and migratory birds should be notified with the authorities before transportation and immigration. The Department of Animal Husbandry should immediately be informed if any birds have unnatural symptoms or unnatural deaths. "Officials of the department have been closely monitored and informed about the risk of avian influenza in the laboratory," she added.

The taluk level authorities have been advised to monitor the movement of live poultry and meat transport vehicles and to take appropriate action according to the circumstances.

Earlier, the Kerala government declared bird-flu as a state-specific disaster and issued a high alert after the outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in various parts of Kottayam and Alappuzha districts. Tamil Nadu government has also activated all its check posts to prevent the entry of poultry from Kerala.

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News Network
January 14,2021

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Udupi, Jan 14: Paryaya Admar Mutt Eshapriya Tirtha swamiji presented a 'Suvarna Chatra' (golden umbrella) to Lord Sri Krishna at Sri Krishna Temple here on Thursday.

The umbrella weighs 2.5 kg in gold. It has been prepared at a cost of Rs 50 lakh of which Rs 15 lakh has been reimbursed from the old gold ornaments of the temple.

Sculptor Raghavendracharya Kunjarugri, from Pajaka near Udupi, made the golden umbrella under the supervision of Santosh Shet of Udupi, according to a statement from the mutt.

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News Network
January 11,2021

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Mangaluru, Jan 11: Dr Abbokar Siddiq, an Associate Professor in the Commerce Department of University College Mangaluru, has been appointed as the coordinator of the Beary Study Chair of Mangalore University. 

He has over 25 years of teaching and administrative experience and has served as the member of Beary script, structure, implementation committee of the Beary Sahitya Academy under the Government of Karnataka. 

He has also worked as the reviewer of the Beary- Kannada- English- Hindi- Roman- IPA dictionary formed by the academy. Beary Study Chair works towards Beary language, literature, culture, rituals, rites, crafts, beliefs, etc.

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