The self-styled ‘Swami’ Nityananda, accused of kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram in Ahmedabad, who has been missing since long, has fled the country confirmed the Gujarat police today.
Recently, an FIR was lodged against Swami Nityananda after police recorded statements of the four children who were rescued from a flat and the ashram, ‘Yogini Sarvagyapeetham’ situated on the premises of Delhi Public School in Ahmedabad, a police officer said.
Meanwhile, two of his disciples, Sadhvi Pranpriyananda and Priyatatva Riddhi Kiran, arrested on Tuesday on kidnapping, illegal confinement and assault, among other charges, were sent to five days police remand by a rural court here on Wednesday evening and are being questioned by the police, Deputy SP (Ahmedabad rural), KT Kamariya said. They have been booked under section 14 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
The Gujarat police working to gather concrete evidence against him after taking two of his disciples in remand has confirmed that the controversial guru has fled abroad, and if required, the Gujarat police will seek his custody through proper channel, said Ahmedabad (Rural) Superintendent of Police R V Asari.
A couple, Janardana Sharma and his wife, had petitioned the Gujarat High Court on Monday for help to get back two daughters who they alleged had been illegally confined at Swami Nityananda’s ashram.
The couple told the court on Monday that they had admitted their four daughters, to an educational institution run by Swami Nithyananda in Bengaluru in 2013. When they learnt that their daughters were this year shifted to another branch of Nithyananda Dhyanpeetham, named Yogini Sarvagyapeetham, they tried to meet them. However, officials of the institute refused to let them meet their daughters, the petitioners alleged.
With help from the police, the Sharmas visited the institute and managed to bring back their two minor daughters, but their elder daughters, Lopamudra Janardhana Sharma (21) and Nandhta (18), in a video message refused to come back, according to the petition.
“Janardana Sharma also sought direction to authorities to produce his two elder daughters before the court,” the DSP said. Sharma alleged that Sarvagyapeetham authorities were not letting him meet his two elder daughters.
Nithyananda, who is over 40 years old, is a native of Tamil Nadu and his real name is Rajashekharan. He set up his ashram at Bidadi on Bengaluru-Mysore highway almost 20 years ago. 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 June last year, a Karnataka court had framed charges against Nithyananda in a rape case. Since then the self-styled godman has been untraceable.