Leading Kannada film actor Darshan arrested in murder case

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Bengaluru, Jun 11 (PTI) Leading Kannada film actor Darshan Thoogudeepa was arrested on Tuesday in connection with the murder of man who allegedly made "derogatory" comments against his close friend, police sources said.

The "Challenging Star" and 12 others were questioned by police after being taken into custody earlier today and subsequently arrested in connection with the alleged murder of the man, identified as Renukaswamy, whose body was found here on June nine.

It is alleged that Renukaswamy, who worked with a pharmacy company and hailed from the district headquarters town of Chitradurga, had made derogatory comments against actress Pavithra Gowda, a close friend of Darshan, in social media posts, the sources said.

The actress has also been arrested.

The 47-year-old Darshan who featured in several commercially successful films including 'Kariya', 'Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna', 'Kalasipalya', 'Gaja', 'Navagraha', 'Saarathi', 'Bulbul', 'Yajamana', 'Robert' and 'Kaatera', was picked up from a Mysuru hotel as he stepped out after working out in the gym there, in connection with the murder in Kamakshipalya area of the city, he said.

After the alleged killing at a shed at Pattanagere under Kamakshipalya police station limits, allegedly belonging to one of the aides of Darshan, Renukaswamy's body was dumped into a stormwater drain in Kamakshipalya, police sources said.

"Based on the recovery of the dead body of an unidentified man and the injuries on his body, a murder case was registered. On the basis of CCTV footage and other technical evidence, the deceased was identified as Renukaswamy," Bengaluru Police Commissioner B Dayananda said.

Police came to know about the murder after some local residents alerted them about the body, which was later sent for an autopsy and the forensic report confirmed that he was murdered, police sources said.

Further investigation led to the arrest of 11 suspects, police sources said, adding, based on their statement, Darshan and Pavithra were taken into custody.

"We are probing to find out if the actor was directly involved in the murder or was part of the conspiracy", a police official said.

Renukaswamy's parents were inconsolable after learning about the murder.

"He was my only son. Last year he got married. I spoke to him on Saturday only. I want justice," his father Srinivasaiah told reporters at Kamakshipalya police station.

Police have provided tight security at the house of Darshan, who made his debut as a lead actor in the movie 'Majestic' in 2002, and has a huge fan following, at RR Nagar here. PTI GMS RS RS

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