Bangalore: Self-styled godman Swami Nithyananda still remains on the run. The Ramanagara police have begun their search at his ashram in Bidadi. The police are expected to arrest all those named in an FIR, filed after an altercation between the media and his followers.
Meanwhile, the Swami's lawyers moved the Karnataka High Court to quash the first FIR on Tuesday. The state government is also set to take over his ashram near Bangalore, ordering his property to be searched and seized.
Ramnagar District SP Anupam Agarwal said, "We have done a partial search today, we cannot certainly say where Nithyananda is, we will wait till tomorrow."
District Commissioner Sriram Reddy said, "We have found some electronic equipments and our technicians will check them tomorrow, we will continue the search operations tomorrow, sealing the ashram is not important, finding out evidences is important."
Nithyananda, 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 Nithyananda after a former US-based woman disciple narrated story of her alleged sexual abuse on a Kannada TV channel, Chief Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Monday held a high-level meeting with top police officials and said he would be arrested in two days.
Nithyananda 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. Nithyananda was arrested and later released on bail.
On June 8, the police had lodged criminal cases against Nithyananda and his followers for allegedly assaulting a mediaperson 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.
On a counter complaint by two followers of Nithyananda, 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.
(With additional information from PTI)