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Nityananda faces arrest, police to secure custody of ashram

Source: PTI
June 11, 2012 22:56 IST
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Controversial self-styled godman Nityananda on Monday faced a search warrant for his arrest after the government decided to act against him over his activities including alleged sexual exploitation of his disciples.

Nityananda, who is 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 Nityananda after a United States-based woman disciple narrated the story of her alleged sexual abuse on a Kannada TV channel, Chief Minister D V 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 Director General of Police Lalrokhuma Pachau and other senior officials, also discussed the clash that took place between the media and his followers at his ashram last week, which has added to his troubles.

Gowda said he has asked the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police to secure custody of Nityananda's Dhyanapeetham premises, 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.

Nityananda 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.

Nityananda was then arrested and later released on bail. On June 8, police had lodged criminal cases against Nityananda and his followers for allegedly assaulting a media person 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 the previous night.

On a counter complaint by two followers of Nityananda, the 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 collect evidence 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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