TNM has accessed a duplicate of the FIR, which says that Karthik Gopinath, who didn’t have permission to gather funds for the govt-managed temples, was advised to provide the cash he collected together with an inventory of donors, however he didn’t comply.
Rightwing YouTuber Karthik Gopinath who was arrested not too long ago didn’t have the permission to gather funds within the identify of a government-run temple, and he didn’t remit the cash to the HR&CE regardless of a number of notices, in line with the FIR registered within the case. The Tamil Nadu-based YouTuber runs a well-liked rightwing channel referred to as Ilaya Bharatham, and was arrested on Might 30 by the Chennai police for allegedly illegally accumulating funds within the identify of temples which might be managed by the state authorities.
In keeping with the FIR registered on this case primarily based on a criticism by the Government Officer of the temple T Aravindhan, the terracotta statues within the Siruvachur temple and its sub temple — Periasamy, Chelliamman Vagayara and Sengamalaiyan temple — have been vandalised by a person named Nathan in October 2021. The HR&CE division had obtained a citation and determined to revive the idols with the assistance of an arts and crafts firm in Puducherry.
In the meantime, Karthik Gopinath uploaded a video on his YouTube channel in regards to the vandalism within the temple and picked up funds via fashionable fundraising platform Milaap, and in addition in his private account, in line with the police. This was finished in October 2021 — and Karthik didn’t have any permission to gather funds on behalf of a government-managed temple. In December 2021, Karthik sought permission from the temple’s then government officer, to revive the statues “together with his personal cash”. He had despatched a letter of consent on December 29, 2021. “As per the Administration Preservation and Property Guidelines, any temple works should be carried out with the permission of the HR&CE Commissioner, so his letter was forwarded to the commissioner, together with different paperwork. No permission has been granted until date,” Aravindhan mentioned in his criticism.
Karthik had sought permission to hold out restoration work with “his personal cash”, however he began elevating funds from the general public “with out the permission of HR&CE, which quantities to against the law,” the criticism mentioned, “That is equal to committing fraud.”
The criticism alleges that other than the Rs 33 lakh collected on Milaap, he has additionally acquired a big amount of cash in his private account within the identify of the temple, and regardless of notices from the federal government, he has refused at hand over the cash and the record of donors. Karthik Gopinath in the meantime has mentioned that he has acquired round Rs 2 lakh in his private checking account regardless of him telling individuals to not ship him cash immediately; and that the majority of the cash he collected is thru Milaap — most of which continues to be with the fundraising platform. Milaap confirmed this to be true.
Whereas Karthik has mentioned that he can not retrieve the cash from the Milaap account till the HR&CE offers permission, the complainant and the police say he wanted to have gotten the permission to lift the cash first; and that when the HR&CE despatched him notices, he ought to have returned the cash.
The Milaap fundraiser cash is untouched aside from Rs 1 lakh which was given to a sculptor. However Karthik additionally organized for Rs 18 lakh to be paid to Padma Shri profitable Terracotta artist KV Munusamy, as an advance for constructing idols for the government-managed temple. It’s unclear the place this cash got here from. Talking to TNM, KV Munusamy mentioned he can not reveal who paid for the advance, and mentioned, “Some Brahmin teams organized for it to be paid via a belief.”
Aravindhan additionally identified Rule 5A of The Assortment of Earnings and Incurring of Expenditure Guidelines, which states: “No particular person, who will not be, in any means, linked with the affairs of the spiritual establishment, shall acquire any cash, subscription, donation or different property for spiritual objective linked with the spiritual establishment. If it is dropped at the discover of the competent authority having jurisdiction and administrative management over the spiritual establishment, that an individual or group of individuals, indulged in making such assortment, such authority shall direct such particular person or group of individuals, to cease making such assortment forthwith, and require such particular person or group of individuals to deposit such assortment with the spiritual establishment involved and to render an account of the gathering made by such particular person or group of individuals. Any particular person or group of individuals, who fail to adjust to the course of such competent authority can be chargeable for prosecution underneath the provisions of the Indian Penal Code.”
Following the rule, on Might 6, 2022, the HR&CE division had despatched a authorized discover to Karthik Gopinath via a lawyer, asking him to remit the quantity collected by him, together with the donor particulars. Karthik responded via his lawyer on Might 16, 2022. “Whereas he has accepted elevating the fund through Milaap, he has not but submitted the cash or the donor particulars,” the FIR says.
Additional, on Might 21, the Chennai police had despatched a summons to Karthik Gopinath to look earlier than Avadi CCB on Might 25 for an inquiry associated to the case filed by activist Piyush Manush on alleged swindling of cash within the identify of a government-managed temple. To this discover, Karthik responded saying he won’t be able to look because of prior commitments.
Karthik Gopinath didn’t seem for the inquiry even after repeated notices which led to his eventual arrest on Might 30, in line with the FIR. He has been booked underneath sections 406 (breach of belief), 420 (dishonest) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC); and 66(D) (punishment for dishonest by personation by utilizing pc assets) of the Info Expertise (IT) Act.
What led to the vandalization of the statues?
In the meantime, police sources inform TNM that Karthik Gopinath was additionally inciting spiritual feelings via his YouTube channel, regardless of the info of the case of vandalism within the temple being utterly opposite to his claims. Karthik in one in every of his movies had mentioned the vandalisation of the temple statues was “finished with the thought of discouraging the Hindu lifestyle and dampening the spirit of temple goers within the neighborhood.”
Senior cops from the central zone mentioned that the statues have been vandalised by a Brahmin man who was ‘offended with god.’ That they had registered 5 FIRs in reference to vandalisation of temple statues in Siruvachur. “This was a really delicate challenge and sure teams tried to create communal tensions within the space within the backdrop of those incidents. We have been in a position to crack the case in a brief span of time and on this case the accused was from a Brahmin group,” a senior officer mentioned.
On October 4, 2021, an unknown particular person had vandalised a number of statues in Periyasamy Selliyamman, and Sengamalaiyan temple — which is likely one of the sub temples of Siruvachur Mathura Kaliamman temple. Primarily based on a criticism filed by HR&CE division clerk Govindraj, an FIR was registered by the Perambalur police and an investigation was underway. 4 days later, on October 8, statues in two different sub-temples — Sithar Temple and Periyandavar temple — have been vandalised, and FIRs have been registered subsequently by the Perambalur police.
Sithar Temple is situated on a non-public land that belongs to an individual referred to as Raja. In his criticism to the police, Raja mentioned he was asleep contained in the temple premises when there was a noise and he noticed an individual vandalising statues. In keeping with the FIR accessed by TNM, the complainant and his colleague hid in some bushes and waited for 2 hours for the accused to return to gather his bag, and nabbed him. “When requested, he advised us that his identify was Nathan from Chennai. We handed him over to the police,” they mentioned.
The accused, Nathan, had additionally given a confession assertion to the police that he was liable for vandalising the statues on the temples situated in Siruvachur. In keeping with police sources, “The accused was upset with god and he was expressing his ire within the type of breaking statues of god.”
After Nathan created a ruckus on the police station, he was set free on bail, when he once more went to the Periyasamy temple and vandalised extra statues. Following this, the then government officer of the temple, Arun Pandian, lodged a criticism with the police and the police had registered one other FIR towards Nathan.
Extra statues have been vandalised on November 9, 2021, and one other criticism was lodged by the HR&CE division. The Perambalur police detained Nathan, who once more confessed to the crime, and a three-and-a-half ft iron rod that was used to vandalise the temple statues was recovered from him.