Mystery over Swamy's age

Supposed alma mater may probe under-age factor in admission


 Nithyananda's educational attainment has come under a cloud after it was found that he was given admission to a three-year mechanical engineering diploma course at Rajagopal Polytechnic College in Gudiyattam in Tamil Nadu's Vellore district when he was 12 years old.

According to the college website, Nithyananda received his diploma in 1993 when he would have been only 15 years old. This is evident from the college website on which he has been eulogised as: "An alumni, Swamiji Nithyananda has donated magnanimously Rs 200,000 (Rs two lakh) for Noon Meal Scheme. Each year he used to donate huge sum whole-heartedly. We proudly register here that he is our old student, did his Mechanical Engineering (1990-1993)."

When contacted, college principal R J Kumar told Deccan Herald over phone that he was admitted to the mechanical engineering course in 1992 and studied in the institution till 1995 when he earned his diploma in "first class with distinction.”

Discrepancy

Kumar's version is also full of discrepancy since Nithyananda, who claims to have been born in 1978, would have been only 14 years old at that time. According to rules in vogue in Tamil Nadu a diploma course could be pursued if the candidate seeking admission to any specific programme has passed Class X at age of 16. At that time, Nithyananda was known by the name A Rajasekaran.

Kumar, who said he had checked the records, said he would request the college management to undertake an inquiry into the matter.

He also said he would instruct the college technical staff to "correct" the entry from the website.

The questionable part of Nithyananda's supposed education at Rajagopal Polytechnic was the age factor. He claims in his autobiography that he was born in 1978. That makes him 12 years of age in 1990, the year he supposedly was enrolled in the college. On the other hand, if Kumar's claim that Rajasekaran was enrolled in 1992 is correct, then the boy was only 14 years at that time.

Inquiry to be ordered

When contacted, mechanical engineering head of the department P Pannerselvam said he would order an inquiry into the circumstances under which an under-age boy was admitted to the diploma course.

"I am on medical leave, but once I rejoin work I will ask the college authorities to go into the matter. After all, the reputation of the college is at stake," Pannerselvam told Deccan Herald over phone.

Clearly concerned over the prima facie bending of rules to award a diploma to an under-age boy, Pannerselvam said, "it might be that he got admission under the management quota," adding: "He might have produced false certificates."

While a thorough check will shed light on Nithyananda's educational qualifications and whether he had earned the diploma fairly, there are some college staff, including civil engineering department head R Amutha, who claimed she taught her subject to Nithyananda "in 1992-93."

When contacted, Amutha, who claims to have a 31-year teaching career, did not dispute the fact that she is a devotee of Nithyananda whom she met in 2001 “when he lived in Erode.”

Amutha, who admitted to paying money to have Nithyananda's darshan and partake of his teachings, claimed that “most of the staff in the college are his devotees.”

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