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Godman's account has Rs 32 crore

Last updated: 28 April, 2010
Chandan Nandy, Bangalore, April 28, DHNS: 1:13 IST

The State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) sleuths have stumbled upon a personal bank account of self-styled godman Nithyananda with a leading private sector bank in Bangalore in which he has a whopping total deposit of around Rs 32 crore.

The bank has frozen the account at the behest of the CID which is looking into all the financial transactions –– accounted as well as unaccounted –– of the godman who is now under police custody for interrogation.

At least three other bank accounts where two trusts run by Nithyananda maintain a deposit of around Rs 20-25 crore have already been frozen. The CID is analysing these accounts and the sources of the funds. Efforts are also on to trace whether money from these accounts has been transferred to undisclosed banks abroad.

Nithyananda’s unaccounted money in his personal account is different from the deposits that are in the name of two trusts, Dhyana Peeta Charitable Trust (DPCT), which was registered in 2003, and Nithyananda Dhyanapeeetam Trust (NDT), registered in 2005.

Police sources believe that money was diverted from donations to Nithyananda’s personal account where profits of a company by the name of Nithyananda Imports and Exports, run by his brother Nithyeshwara, alias Gopinath, were also deposited.

Deccan Herald is in possession of some documents which show exports of a large number of idols of Hindu gods and goddesses which were sold at prices 5 to 15 times higher than their cost price. Some of the wire transfers indicate that the profits were moved from Wells Fargo Bank in California to some Indian banks which are now in the process of being identified.

The only trustees of NDT and DPCT are Nithyananda, his secretary T Dhanasekaran, alias Sadhananda, and his wife D Jamunarani, alias Ma Sadhananda.

The last two have disappeared from Nithyananda’s Bidadi ashram since Saturday.
It is learnt from unimpeachable sources that while DPCT filed a tax return of close to Rs 5 crore in the 2009-10 fiscal, NDT’s return reflect a staggering Rs 8.5 crore.

This unusually high return declared by NDT has prompted the Directorate of Income Tax to select it for special scrutiny.

Income Tax officials will officially write to the CID and seek access to documents related to the financial dealings of Nithyananda’s many organisations operating from the United States, Europe, South America and India.

They reckon that there is strong possibility of the I-T department serving show-cause notice to the godman on why the exemption benefits enjoyed by his trusts under 80G and 12A of the I-T Act should not be cancelled. The investigation wing of the I-T department will also likely get into the act to pursue its own enquiries on possible tax evasion by the godman and his organisations in India.

The sources here as well as abroad have disclosed that Nithyananda and some of his closest associates operated at least three hedge funds which operated from the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The CID is in the process of getting hold of the details of the investment funds as well as obtaining information that in 2008 Nithyananda had plans to outright buy a private island either off the coast of Canada or Indonesia.

His global secretary Sachitananda was tasked with the job of contacting a Germany-based Turkish broker in islands. The money set aside for the island purchase was US$ 5 million.

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