Nithyananda charged with rape, absconding – D.P. Satish

D.P. SatishNithyananda has been charged by the police for allegedly raping a female disciple at his ashram in 2010. The Supreme Court had directed a local court to complete the trial on priority. Fearing conviction in the case Nithyananda may have fled the country. – D.P. Satish

The rumour mills are abuzz in Bengaluru with claims that controversial godman Swami Nithyananda has fled India.

According to unconfirmed reports, Nithyananda has fled to a foreign country to escape the law. Some even claim that he has already sought political asylum in Cayman Islands.

Nithyananda’s long absence at his ashram in the outskirts of Bengaluru has fuelled such rumours. Locals said no one has seen him in public in the last one month.

His disciples who spoke to News18 revealed that he had told some of his close aides that he would be touring pilgrim centres in north India. “We don’t know where he is. His close aides claim that he is in north India and will be back soon,” one of the disciples said.

Those who are opposing him suspect that Nithyananda may have fled abroad like fellow Bengalurean Vijay Mallya, the fugitive liquor baron.

A top police officer expressed doubts over the fleeing theory. Speaking to News18, he said, “I don’t think that he has fled. His passport has expired recently. He can’t travel abroad legally. I was told that he was somewhere in north India. We are verifying it.”

B. Dayananda, Inspector General of Police (IGP) of Central Range, under whose jurisdiction Nithyananda’s ashram falls, confirmed that the Superintendent of Police (SP) of Ramanagara district Ramesh Bhanoth has rejected renewal application of his passport on legal grounds.

“Since there is a serious case against him, the SP has rejected his request for passport renewal. It has expired recently,” he said.

Nithyananda, who first hit the national headlines for his alleged video in a compromising position with an actress in early 2010, has been a highly controversial figure in India’s ever growing godmen market. Nithyananda, who is over 40 years old, is a native of [Tiruvannamalai], Tamil Nadu and his real name is Rajashekharan. He set up his ashram at Bidadi on Bengaluru-Mysore highway almost 20 years ago. It is loosely based on Osho Rajneesh’s philosophy. His cheap imitation of Osho’s preaching has got him a good number of followers.

Most of his disciples are young professionals and some of them are foreigners. After his sermons, they dance with him and some even go into a trance. The ashram earned notoriety in the last 10 years for various nefarious activities allegedly taking place inside the sprawling campus.

He was arrested by the police twice and had to cool his heels at a jail for some time before coming out on bail. His ashram was also raided by the police. Last August, he was charge-sheeted by the police for allegedly raping a female disciple at his ashram in 2010. The Supreme Court had directed a local court to complete the trial on priority. The trial has begun three months ago.

Some even allege that fearing conviction in this case Nithyananda may have fled the country.

Nithyananda is known for making stupid, laughable claims. Recently he had claimed that he could make cows speak in Tamil and Sanskrit. His comments on Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and his discussion with former Infosys HR director T.V. Mohandas Pai went viral leading to avalanche of ridicule on social media in the last two months. News18, 18 December 2019

» D.P. Satish is a senior editor for CNN-News18 in New Delhi.

Nithy & Ranjitha

See also