Actor Among 12 Arrested for Murder in Torture Case: Darshan Taken Into Custody for Gruesome Killing

The victim had reportedly written insulting comments about Darshan's girlfriend on social media.

Kannada film star Darshan Thoogudeepa, along with his alleged girlfriend Pavithra Gowda and 11 others, have been apprehended by the authorities for their alleged involvement in the brutal murder of 33-year-old Renuka Swamy, a resident of Chitradurga, India, reported Times of India.

The victim's lifeless body was discovered in a drain in Bengaluru, India's Kamakshipalya area, on Sunday morning, bearing signs of torture. Investigations revealed that Renuka Swamy, a fan of Darshan and an employee at a local pharmacy, had allegedly posted derogatory comments about Pavithra on social media, igniting a violent response from the actor and his associates, per NDTV.

According to police sources, Swamy was abducted from Chitradurga on Saturday morning and transported to Bengaluru by Darshan's aides. "He was my only son. He got married last year. I spoke to him just on Saturday. I want justice," Srinivasaiah, Swamy's father, told the outlet.

The events that unfolded were nothing short of chilling. As per the statements of the accused, Swamy was taken to a shed owned by Vinay, one of Darshan's associates, in Pattanagere. There, he was subjected to a brutal assault by Darshan and his companions, including the alleged ringleader, Nagaraju, reported The Hindu.

"Raghavendra and a few others abducted Swamy from Chitradurga on Saturday morning. Swamy, who was on his way to a pharmacy, was bundled into a car and brought to RR Nagar. As planned earlier, Raghavendra and others locked Swamy in a shed belonging to Vinay in Pattanagere. First, Raghavendra, Jagadish, Raju, Karthik and Nikhil beat up Swamy. By evening, Darshan and others visited Swamy and a second round of thrashing took place. By late evening, Pavithra Gowda visited the shed and one more round of thrashing was carried out. Swamy died on the spot," a senior police officer stated, as reported by the Times of India.

The aftermath of the brutal assault was even more disturbing. At around 3:30 a.m., the accused allegedly transported Swamy's lifeless body in a Mahindra Scorpio and discarded it near a drain in Kamakshipalya, leaving it carelessly by the side.

Darshan, known as the "Challenging Star" by his fans, was apprehended from a hotel in Mysuru on Tuesday morning, while Pavithra Gowda, who has acted in a few Kannada films and runs a boutique, was also taken into custody. The investigative trail led the police to uncover a web of conspiracies and accomplices. Statements from the accused and analysis of phone records and CCTV footage implicated Darshan and his associates, revealing their involvement in the heinous crime, per One India.

In a dramatic courtroom scene, Darshan and Pavithra Gowda were seen shedding tears as they were presented before the magistrate. The judge inquired if the police had mistreated them, which they denied, reported New Indian Express.

The prosecution sought 10-day police custody for the accused, citing the need to conduct further investigations, retrieve call data records, and recover alleged weapons used in the murder. However, Darshan's lawyer argued for judicial custody, asserting his cooperation and the recovery of the body. Ultimately, the court ordered all accused to six days of police custody until June 17, according to the outlet.

In a new development, the investigation gained momentum with the surrender of Ravi, the driver who had transported Swamy from Chitradurga to Bengaluru on June 8. Ravi had gone into hiding after dropping off the accused but eventually surrendered to the authorities in Chitradurga, according to NDTV.

Raghu, who ran a fan club for Darshan in Chitradurga, had allegedly hired a taxi to transport Swamy to Bengaluru, where the fateful events unfolded. CCTV footage has emerged showing two cars leaving the area where Swamy's body was dumped, one of which is linked to the accused actor.