The Lokayukta police arrested Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Madal Virupakshappa hours after the Karnataka high court dismissed his bail petition in a bribery case relating to Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited on Monday.
A viral video showed the Lokayukta sleuths intercepting the MLA at the Kyathasandra toll gate in Tumakuru when was heading for Bengaluru.
Sources said Virupakshappa alighted from his car, after which the Lokayukta police took him with them in their vehicle.
"We arrested him in Tumakuru when he (the MLA) was on the way to Bengaluru," Lokayukta inspector general of police A Subramanyeshwara Rao told PTI.
The BJP MLA is the main accused in the bribery scam in KSDL.
The case relates to the alleged demand and receipt of bribes for payment of bills by the state government company to contractors who supplied chemicals to it.
The HC had reserved its judgment on the issue last Friday.
Justice K Natarajan in his judgment cancelled the interim anticipatory bail granted earlier on March 7 and said, "Though this Court granted the interim anticipatory bail until disposal of the case, because there was no material found in FIR at that time, but now, there is sufficient evidence to show the involvement of the petitioner in the commission of offence as per the case diary of the police and statement under Section 164 of Cr.P.C."
The Court also said that Virupakshappa's custody was necessary. "Therefore, the custody of the petitioner is imminent for the Lokayukta police to interrogate him in the matter.
Therefore, at this stage, this Court feels that the interim anticipatory bail, requires to be cancelled as the petitioner-accused No.1 has not properly co-operated with the investigation officer," the Court said.
It noted the statement of the managing director of KSDL Mahesh which indicted Virupakshappa.
"There were WhatsApp messages and telephone instructions given by this petitioner to one said Mahesh, the Managing Director of KSDL, which clearly reveals, that at the instance of this petitioner-accused No.1 and on behalf of the petitioner-accused No.1, accused No.2 (Prashanth Madal) almost acted on for tender process, procurement process and demand and acceptance of the alleged bribe amount, pertaining to KSDL," the court pointed out.
The court also noted the recovery of cash from the MLA and said his custodial interrogation was necessary.
"The statement of the family members of petitioner-accused No.1 has been recorded by the investigation officer and the amount has been seized from the bedroom of this petitioner. The investigation officer was not able to collect the call records, WhatsApp messages from the mobile of the petitioner. Therefore, the matter requires detailed investigation and without the custodial interrogation, it is not possible for the police to collect the proper evidence against the petitioner."
Rejecting the anticipatory bail plea, the HC said, "If the petitioner is on bail, there is every possibility of apprehension by the witnesses and they may not come forward to give evidence or statement against him without fear."
Virupakshappa had allegedly demanded bribes and his son Prashanth, a KAS officer, was allegedly collecting it on his behalf.
A demand for Rs 81 lakh bribe to pass a bill was made and his son was caught while accepting Rs 40 lakh out of it. Later, over Rs seven crore in cash was seized from Virupakshappa's residence.
Prashanth was arrested in the case on March 2. Four more arrests have been made by the Lokayukta police in the case since then. Virupakshappa has since resigned as the chairman of KSDL.
The MLA faces charges under Section 7(A) and 7(B) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
While Prashanth is the second accused in the case, Siddesh, Nicholas and Gangadhar are the other accused.
The complaint to the Lokayukta against Virupakshappa was given by Shreyas Kashyap, a partner in Ms Chemixil Corporation.
It is alleged that the MLA demanded bribes to release the payment pending to the company for supply of chemicals to KSDL.
Prashanth was arrested in a private office on Kumara Park Crescent Road while accepting the bribe allegedly on behalf of his father.