Godman's ashram also a business centre, claims informer

Nithyananda's younger brother, operated exim outfit

Godman's ashram also a business centre, claims informer

Thirty-five-year-old Lenin Karuppan, whose secretly filmed December 2009 operation inside Nithyananda's bedroom at the godman's Bidadi ashram near here exposed the sordid goings-on there, told Deccan Herald during a tell-all exclusive interview that the Nithyananda Import Export company is "registered in the name of Nithyananda's brother and another ashram member".

Only one video
But a day after claiming he possessed two other CDs containing explicit footage of Nithyananda's sexual activities, Karuppan insisted there was only one video which was now in the possession of the Karnataka Criminal Investigation Department (CID). In an email statement to Deccan Herald, Karuppan claimed he was misquoted on account of a "language communication" gap, though he did not retract any other part of the interview that took place in an undisclosed location in Chennai on Friday.

Nithyeshwar, who is believed to have fled the Bidadi ashram along with Nithyananda on March 2 when the scandal broke, is in charge of all accounts for the Dhyanapeetam's India operations since 2004. According to Karuppan, who was a Dhyanapeetam insider since 2006, "all books, gift article, statues (made of wood, stone, marble and metal) etc are sent to the United States and other countries through this company."

Disclosing that unusually high amounts of money (in Rupee and US dollar terms) is charged for the so-called healing and enlightenment programmes, Karuppan alleged that the ashram earned about Rs 11.5 crore.

Giving an example, Karuppan claimed that between November 25 and December 2009, 250 international devotees paid $6,000 each for the Inner Awakening programme, "bringing the total amount received by Dhyanapeetam to more than Rs 6 crore".

Money-spinning machine
Likewise, by November 15, 2009 100 participants for a three-month healing course arrived at Bidadi, each paying $8,000. "From this programme alone Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam received Rs 4 crore," Karuppan said, providing a glimpse of the money-spinning machine that was the Dhyanapeetam. For the four-day "NSP programme" held in Tamil Nadu between November 26 and 29, last year, each of the 3,000 participants paid Rs 5,000, "taking the total amount received to Rs 1.5 crore", Karuppan claimed.
The former ashramite said there are other sources of earning money, including what is referred to as Nithyananda's "pada puja" (feet worship).
The "pada puja" involves select families worshipping his feet for about 10 minutes each. For this Rs 25,000 had to be coughed up by each family in India, while in the US the rate is $2,000.

Karuppan admitted he did not have access to all financial records of the Dhyanapeetam. "But I have firsthand information with regards to Galleria department accounts, of which I had direct knowledge, and through my close association with other top department heads and inner circle members I have indirect knowledge."
Alleging that "no tax was ever paid for anything sold through (Ananda) Galleria", Karuppan said "tax was not even included in the bills these past seven years".
According to him, "income tax, sales tax, turnover tax - none of these were ever paid, because the accounts department would make the auditor show that these items are given away as gifts by the trust (not sold for a price by Galleria)."
DH News Service

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