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May 20, 2008 at 04:38pm IST

Devotee bails out Hindu guru, to pay $ 10-mn surety

Houston: A Hindu spiritual guru arrested three weeks ago on charges of indecency with two underage girls has been permitted to visit India after his devotee agreed to put up a $ 10-million guarantee that he would return to the US.

Prakashanand Saraswati, 79, founder of the Barsana Dham in North Hays County in Texas was released on a $1 million bail.

Saraswati was indicted on 20 counts of indecency with two children between 1993 and 1996. He was arrested on April 24 at Washington’s Dulles International Airport after he arrived from Europe.

ROW OVER GURU: Houston-based spiritual guru charged with indeceny with minors.

Businessman Peter Spiegel, who listed as a managing member, director and treasurer of JKP, Barsana Dham, the corporate name of the temple founded by Saraswati, agreed to pay the guarantee money in an arrangement approved by State District Court Judge.

Saraswati retrieved his passport late last week, according to Hays County court records. A spokesman for Barsana Dham said the priest intends to visit India soon.

District Attorney Sherri Tibbe said her office was against priest leaving the country. "We oppose anybody leaving the country who is out on a felony bond," she said.

Saraswati is barred from entering Barsana Dham property at any time, as the offences allegedly occurred there.

Barsana Dham is one of the biggest Hindu temples in the US, owning more than 200 acres.

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