Bangalore: Self-styled godman Nithyananda remains missing 24 hours after the Sadananda Gowda government in Karnataka issued a manhunt for him. There has been no clue of his whereabouts despite the state government having ordered a probe into allegations of sexual abuse against him. However, Nithyananda's supporters claimed that he was not absconding.
The government had also ordered the seizure and a search of his ashram property and asked the home department to take steps to cancel his bail. The government acted on fresh complaints of rape and sexual abuse filed by some devotees.
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)