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Cell number gave away godman's hideout

Last updated: 21 April, 2010
Chandan Nandy, Bangalore, April 21, DH News Service: 23:06 IST

Nithyananda saga: Laws long arm gets him

A mobile phone SIM card purchased in a West Uttar Pradesh town was the singlemost important clue that helped the joint Karnataka-Himachal Pradesh CID team to locate godman-in-hiding Nithyananda in Shivshankargarh village near under Arki police station in Himachal Pradesh.

The phone number was being monitored by the Karnataka CID from Bangalore for the past two weeks. The calls made from that number, to several locations in India and the United States, revealed a pattern to the CID sleuths. Once it was established that Nithyananda and the head of his operations in the United States, Gopal Sheelum Reddy alias Bhaktananda were using the phone, two officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendents of Police were despatched to Shimla three days ago.

There they teamed up with CID sleuths of the Himachal Pradesh police and located a particular mobile service provider’s signal tower in the vicinity of Mamlig.

The call details suggested that the “target” was somewhere in Shivshankargarh village.
“The terrain is quite difficult and the phone call pattern showed some of the calls were of short duration, suggesting frequent network breakage. But the team could zero-in on one signal tower,” an Himachal Pradesh police source told Deccan Herald over phone.

The joint CID team then set out on foot, criss-crossing hillocks, to locate the house in which Nithayanda and four of his associates were holed up for over a month. The house belongs to a man called Dogra who is believed to be known to one of Nithyananda’s devotees.

Once the “target” house was identified, surveillance was mounted on since early Wednesday morning. The police team approached the house around 1:30 pm and surrounded it. The two Karnataka officers knocked on the door and asked for Nithyananda who did not put up any resistance.

No resistance

“He was in his saffron robes and had just taken lunch. Neither he nor any of his four associates put up any resistance. He was cordial with the officers who immediately took him into custody,” a police sources said, adding Nithyananda, his four associates will spend Wednesday night in Shimla before leaving for Bangalore on Thursday.

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