Karnataka: Nithyananda faces prospect of arrest

Written by: Pti
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Swami Nithyananda
Bangalore, Jun 12: Controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda on Monday faced a search warrant for his arrest after the government bearing the heat of public outrage decided to act against him over his activities including alleged sexual exploitation of his disciples.

Nithyananda, already facing criminal cases including rape on complaints from some former disciples last year, is reportedly absconding from his ashram at Bidadi in Ramanagara district near Bangalore.

With several protests on and calls for action against Nithyananda after a former US-based woman disciple narrated story of her alleged sexual abuse on a Kannada TV channel, Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Monday held a high-level meeting with top police officials and said he would be arrested in two days.

The meeting attended by DGP Lalrokhuma Pachau and other senior officials, also discussed the clash that took place between the media and his followers at his ashram last week, that has added to his troubles.
Gowda said he has asked the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police to secure custody of Nithyananda's Dhyanapeetham premises and collect evidence about its activities and seal the ashram.

The government would hold discussions with the law department to seek cancellation of bail granted by the Karnataka High Court to the self-styled godman in connection with a case of rape and criminal intimidation.

Nithyananda is facing criminal charges, including rape, after a slew of complaints were filed against him in 2010 after some local TV channels telecast purported videos of the self-styled godman in a compromising position with an actress. He was arrested on Apr 21, 2010 from Solan in Himachal Pradesh and granted bail on Jun 11, 2010.

On June 8, police had lodged criminal cases against Nithyananda and his followers for allegedly assaulting a mediaperson during a press conference at his ashram on complaints from a regional TV channel reporter and activists of local group Nava Nirmana Sene in connection with an altercation at the ashram.

On a counter complaint by two followers of Nithyananda, police also registered two FIRs against the reporter and Sene activists for alleged outrage of modesty, physical assault and threat to life.

Armed with the directions of the Chief Minister to take custody of the ashram, the district administration is already gearing up to take inventory of articles at the Dhynapeetham spread over 22 acres of land.

"The district administration will have to take an inventory of all the things at the ashram and along with the police team and collect evidences pertaining to the alleged illegal activities. It is going to take some time, may be three to four days," a police source said.

Amid heavy police bandobast at the ashram, a number of devotees were seen vacating it from the back gate with police personnel posted there subjecting them to a thorough check.


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