Bangalore: Self-styled godman Nityananda
Swami has courted fresh trouble for allegedly using kerosene
meant for poor families during his meditation for `penance`
and may face a seven-year jail term if convicted.
Nityananda, out on bail on June 12 after remaining in
jail for 53 days on rape and other criminal charges, resorted
to the `pancha tapasya` by meditating in his Bidadi ashram in
neighbouring Ramanagara district. While meditating, Nityananda
sat and prayed with a fire set around him.
Officials of Food and Civil Supplies department today
seized 180 litres of blue kerosene stored at the ashram.
"This is an offence under the Essential Commodities Act,"
Commissioner H R Srinivasa told PTI here.
Blue kerosene available under public distribution
system is only meant for BPL ration card holders and above
poverty line ones without LPG connection, he said.
"Cases have now been booked against him at Bidadi
police station under section six and seven of the Essential
Commodities Act," Srinivasa said. If convicted, Nityananda
faces a maximum punishment of seven years of rigorous
imprisonment with penalty.
Meanwhile, Nityananda`s ashram sought to distance
itself from the episode of usage of blue kerosene.
"There have been some remarks in media about the use
of kerosene oil during the Pancha Tapas Yoga and
unfortunately, some people are using this as a reason to
harass the ashramites and stop the ashram`s spiritual
activities," it said in a statement.
A source in the Nityananda`s ashram Dhyanapeetham,
however, said they have decided to use camphor during the
meditation from tomorrow and not kerosene.
The seizure came in the wake of photographs showing
disciples pouring blue kerosene for a ring of fire within
which Nityananda sat in meditation.
Nityananda was arrested in Himachal Pradesh on April
21 after eluding police who were on the lookout following a
private TV channel in Chennai telecasting a purported video
footage of the godman in a compromising position with a Tamil
actress in March.