Ending his long silence, self- styled godman Nityananda, facing charges of sexually abusing devotees, on Tuesday refuted the allegations as baseless and a "blackmailing tactic by powerful people" to extort money from him.
"Had no physical relationship with anyone. Not drunk a drop of alcohol nor smoked nor had non-vegetarian food all my life," the controversial swami told mediapersons in Bengaluru.
He claimed powerful people had used a "misrepresented video" to blackmail him.
"I am being threatened and blackmailed by powerful people politically. They demanded at least Rs 100 crore from me, then reduced the price to Rs 60 crore. Different amounts were demanded at different times," he said.
Nityananda, whose alleged sex romps were aired by a private regional TV channel with an actress, claimed "the whole video is manipulated and morphed. I categorically deny that it is me who is there (in the clipping)".
The denial by Nityananda, against whom charges of rape and criminal intimidation have been framed by police, came days after actress Ranjitha made a similar statement.
Nityananda went missing after the alleged scandal involving him broke out and was arrested from Solan district in Himachal Pradesh on April 21 last year.
"I will give the whole story and all details to the court," he said. Turning his ire on the CID wing which is investigating allegations of rape against him, Nityananda said, "I have revealed all this to them. They have not done anything. Nothing happened. They just sympathised with me and told me to just relax," he said.