YouTuber S. Karthik Gopinath moved to Madras High Court to quash an FIR registered against him by Avadi police for collecting several lakhs rupees through crowdfunding for the renovation of the Madhurakaliamman Temple at Siruvachur in Perambalur district.
Central Crime Branch (CCB) attached to Avadi Commissionerate, too has moved the High Court against the refusal of a Judicial Magistrate in Poonnamalee to grant permission for subjecting the YouTuber to custodial interrogation.
The Bench headed by Justice N. Sathish Kumar heard both the petitions. After hearing arguments the judge adjourned the matter to Monday for the prosecution to point out the alleged misappropriation of funds after going through the bank account statements produced by the accused to prove that no such misappropriation had occurred by him.
Further, on being told that the bail petition filed by the accused was scheduled to be listed before the Magistrate on Wednesday, the judge directed the Magistrate to dispose of it at the earliest.
An affidavit filed by the main Counsel of the YouTuber said, he was also a law student and that he had to appear for his semester examinations in two weeks’ time. He squarely denied the charge of having misappropriated the money collected through crowdfunding for temple renovation.
The petitioner said he had initiated the donation drive through Milaap on October 10, 2021, and succeeded in collecting ₹33.28 lakh within three days. On October 14, he requested the donors to stop sending money. He also claimed that the donation drive was carried out with the knowledge of the temple’s Executive Officer.
Since then, the money had been lying with Milaap since the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department was yet to grant approval for its use, the petitioner said and alleged that a motivated complaint of cheating and misappropriation had now been lodged against him at the instance of the Executive Officer.
The petitioner said, he had a subscriber base of over two lakh individuals on YouTube. He complained the police did not follow any of the Supreme Court guidelines while arresting him on May 30.
“This case has been initiated against him by the prosecution only to cause a blemish on his otherwise pristine record,” the petitioner claimed and urged the court to quash the FIR.
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