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Kannada actor arrested for the brutal murder of his fan: From domestic abuse to setting dogs on a woman, here’s a list of his past violent behaviours

The police revealed that RenukaSwamy had criticised Pavithra in his Instagram comments, suggesting she was a "third wheel" between Darshan and his wife Vijayalakshmi.

On Tuesday, May 11, police arrested popular Kannada actor Darshan Thoogudeepa from his farmhouse in Mysore and took him to Bengaluru. The court has sent him to a 6-day police remand. The actor has been accused of being involved in the alleged murder of a man named RenukaSwamy, whose body was found in Bengaluru on June 9.

Along with the actor, the police also arrested his partner Pavithra Gowda and 10 others in connection with the matter. Reportedly, three people confessed to the murder and said they committed the crime allegedly on the instructions of actor Darshan.

Swamy worked at an Apollo Pharmacy branch in Chitradurga and had allegedly posted “obscene messages” on social media on Darshan’s girlfriend and co-star Pavithra Gowda.

Swamy’s parents had filed a missing complaint after he went missing. Based on this complaint, the police arrested Darshan Thoogudeepa on Tuesday.

“The 33-year-old man, who has been murdered, has been identified as Renuka Swamy. At first glance, it seems that the deceased had sent objectionable messages to Darshan’s girlfriend,” said B Dayanand, Bengaluru police chief.

Reportedly, residents who said they witnessed stray dogs pulling a body out of a drain called the police to report the murder. The body had marks of injuries. Investigation into the death of this person led to the arrest of some suspects who allegedly directed the police to the Kannada actor.

The police are probing into whether Darshan was directly involved in the murder or was part of the conspiracy.

What transpired and how the incident unfolded

The police revealed that RenukaSwamy had criticised Pavithra in his Instagram comments, suggesting she was a “third wheel” between Darshan and his wife Vijayalakshmi. 

Pavithra, a small-time actress in her late 30s, was reportedly offended by the remarks and complained to Darshan. The actor chose, according to the police, to confront Renukaswamy. According to police sources, he requested that Raghavendra, a fan association member in Chitradurga, bring Renukaswamy to Bengaluru. On the evening of June 8, Raghavendra took Renukaswamy to a shed located in RR Nagar, a western suburb of Bengaluru.

Pattanagere Jayanna, a local businessman and one of the suspects’ uncles, is the owner of the land. A few of them were already waiting in the shed. Renukaswamy protested that he was also a fan of the actor, but the suspects disregarded his plea and thrashed him.

Police suspect Darshan, too, was present at the shed at the time RenukaSwamy was brutally assaulted to death.

According to the Deccan Herald, the CCTV footage showed two vehicles, a red Jeep Wrangler allegedly owned by Darshan and a dark SUV, leaving the shed at 3:27:13 in the morning on June 9.

On June 9, at approximately eight in the morning, a security guard at the Sattva Anugraha apartment complex in Sumanahalli discovered the body dumped by a stormwater drain on the road. He made a call to the police informing them about the unidentified body. The head, face, ears, and other body parts all had injury marks while some parts had been bitten off by stray dogs.

Following the victim’s identification, a murder and evidence destruction investigation was opened by the Kamakshipalya police jurisdiction.

While the police were conducting an inquiry, four suspects, including one Karthik and Keshava Murthy, turned themselves in to the police that same day, saying they had killed Renukaswamy over a financial dispute.

Four suspects, including Karthik and Keshava Murthy, turned themselves in to the police that same day, saying they had killed Renukaswamy over a financial dispute, while the police were conducting an inquiry. Police, however, decided to delve into it more after finding their confessions to be dubious. Eventually, the suspects disclosed the identities of their accomplices and implicated the Kannada actor.

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

Kannada actor Darshan and his history of violent behaviour

Darshan is a popular Kannada actor who is dubbed “Challenging Star” by his fans. Darshan began his career in television, after which he transitioned to the big screen by debuting as the lead in the 2002 film “Majestic”. Some of his superhit films include ‘Kalasipalya’, ‘Saarathi’, ‘Yajamana’, ‘Roberrt’. He was last seen in ‘Kaatera’, which hit theatres in 2023. Darshan, along with being one of the most celebrated actors in Kannada cinema, is also a producer and distributor of Sandalwood.

However, despite being a big name in the Kannada film industry, Darshan has been embroiled in several controversies.

Recently, Darshan was accused of partying over the deadline of one in the morning. The actor was at the Jetlag Restobar in Bengaluru in January this year, to celebrate the success of his film Kaatera. The Bengaluru police had in April 2024, filed an FIR against Darshan, actors Abhishek Ambareesh, producer-director Rockline Venkatesh, and Dhananjaya, as they reportedly continued a party past the deadline with loud music. The police had also issued notices to Darshan and the others who were involved.

In November last year, the Kannada actor was accused of setting dogs on a woman who parked her car near his residence. An FIR has been registered against him under IPC section 289 stating negligence on Darshan’s part. The police, however, later claimed that Darshan was not present at the scene when the incident happened and that the woman claimed they were the actor’s dogs.

In January 2023, Darshan was booked under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) 1972 for illegally possessing bar-headed geese and other migratory birds.

In December 2022, the Kannada actor was embroiled in a major controversy after he made a disparaging remark against the Goddess of luck. During an interview for his film Kranti, Darshan reportedly said, “The Goddess of Luck does not always come knocking on your door. So, when she does come, grab her, drag her, and lock her in your bedroom without giving her clothes.” A huge backlash followed this remark, with one of his fans hurling a slipper at him during an event in Hospet.

In July 2021, Darshan was accused of assaulting a waiter at a hotel in Mysuru. Later, the waiter was, however, paid Rs 50,000 to cover up the case, and no charges were filed against the actor.

The same year, Kannada film producer Bharat filed a complaint against Darshan, stating that the actor had been threatening him.

In March 2016, Darshan’s wife Vijayalakshmi filed a police complaint against the actor, wherein she stated that Darshan assaulted her again and threatened to shoot her. Upon investigation, the doctors found bruises and a wound on Vijayalakshmi’s head that had required four sutures. When police had produced Darshan in court, he claimed that he was intoxicated and had no memory of the incident.

In September 2011, the actor was accused of domestic violence and abuse by his wife Vijayalakshmi. She had, for the first time, complained that Darshan assaulted her.

Although they never got a formal divorce, their relationship turned turbulent and was marked by several separations because of alleged domestic abuse and violence. In September 2011, Vijayalakshmi filed a case against her actor husband Darshan in the family court, which was ultimately resolved out of court.

Recently, actor Pavithra publicly confirmed that she was in a relationship with Darshan for over ten years despite his being married to Vijayalakshmi. “One decade down, forever to go. We’ve been together for ten years. Thank you,” Pavithra captioned her Instagram post where she highlighted the time spent with Darshan.

After the post went viral, Darshan’s wife Vijayalakshmi threatened legal action against Pavithra. The latter replied with a photo of a “diya,” expressing her love and care for Darshan and the abuse she and her daughter had endured over the past ten years. Darshan has not yet commented on this issue.

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