Nithyananda moves HC seeking quashing of FIR
Facing arrest, controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda today moved the Karnataka High Court seeking quashing of an FIR filed in connection with last week's violent incidents in his ashram near here.
Nithyananda, already facing criminal charges including rape, has been absconding since June 7 after police filed an FIR on charges of assault and threat to life in the wake of an altercation between his supporters and a regional TV reporter and activists of a Kannada outfit in his ashram at Bidadi.
Nithyananda filed the petition in the High Court a day after the police issued a warrant for his arrest and the government ordered a probe into his ashram activities amid growing state-wide protests against him over his alleged sexual exploitation of his followers.
As calls for government crackdown on the ashram and Nithyananda grew, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda yesterday said he would be arrested in two days.
The self-sytled godman, who has been enlarged on bail after being arrested in 2010 on rape and other charges, courted fresh trouble after a US-based woman disciple last week alleged she was sexually exploited by him for five years, a claim that has caused public outrage and protests.
Nithyananda prayed the Court to call for the records in relation to the latest case registered on the basis of a complaint by Ajit Hanamakkanavar, a TV channel reporter.
The case is presently pending before the Additional Civil Judge and Judicial First Class Magistrate court in Ramanagar.
The petitioner submitted that allegations made in the complaint, if read to its face value as true, do not constitute any offence let alone the one for which the crime is registered against him.
"The registration of the crime against him and its investigation is malafide action", he contended.
Giving his version of the June 7 incident, he alleged that some vested interests were behind it to tarnish his image as a a spiritual leader "loved and respected by over 10 million people across the world".
Nityananda is facing criminal charges, including rape, after a slew of complaints were filed against him in 2010 in the backdrop of some local TV channels telecasting purported videos of the self-styled godman in a compromising position. Meanwhile, police today conducted searches at Nithyananda's ashram at Bidadi.Ramanagar District Superintendent of Police Anupam Agarwal said the search was for arresting those named in the FIR including Nithyananda. "We are searching for Nithyananda. As of now we don't think he is absconding, but if he is not in the ashram, we will look out (for him). If we find him we will arrest him on charges of assault and threat to life", he told reporters outside the ashram.