Nithyananda booked for using the poor's kerosene

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Bangalore, Jun 17: Swami Nithyananda, who is already facing a slew of criminal charges including rape, is yet again flirting with fire as the police has booked cases against him for using kerosene meant for poor families for his purification rites and meditation penance.

The sex scandal tainted swamiji, who was granted bail on Jun 12, undertook 'pancha tapasya' (penance) at his Bidadi ashram. During the meditation penance, the godman sat and prayed with fire around him. He used blue kerosene for setting the fire.

But blue kerosene available under public distribution system is only for BPL ration card holders and above poverty line ones without LPG connection.

"This is an offence under the Essential Commodities Act," Commissioner H R Srinivasa told a news agency.

"Cases have now been booked against him at Bidadi police station under section six and seven of the Essential Commodities Act," he added.

Officials of Food and Civil Supplies department seized 180 litres of blue kerosene stored at the ashram on Thursday, Jun 17. If Nithyananda is convicted, he could invite seven years of rigorous imprisonment as well as a penalty.

The godman's ashram Dhyanapeetham has decided to distance itself from the controversy.

A statement released by the ashram read, "There have been some remarks in media about the use of kerosene oil during the Pancha Tapas Yoga and unfortunately, some people are using this as a reason to harass the ashramites and stop the ashram's spiritual activities."

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