Tamil Nadu police book self-styled godman for cheating

Last Updated: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 18:38

Chennai/Bangalore: Cases of cheating were
on Thursday slapped by Tamil Nadu police against self-styled godman
Nityananda Swami after a public outcry sparked by video
footage of his alleged sleazy acts even as the Karnataka
government assured "very strict" action against him.

A day after ashrams of Nityananda in Tamil Nadu and
Karnataka were targeted by irate public after a Tamil TV
channel, followed by others later, telecast the footage, Chief
Minister M Karunanidhi said government would not tolerate
sleazy acts of self-styled godmen.

Government would not be just "watching the fun" of sleazy
acts of self-styled godmen...it would not tolerate the acts of
cheating common man in the name of devotion, Karunanidhi said
but appealed to media to refrain from telecasting or
publishing such content as it would spoil young minds.

Chennai police said the action invoking IPC section 420
came on a complaint by six advocates accusing the swami of
cheating and obscenity.

In Coimbatore, police registered an FIR against
Nityananda under IPC section 420 and also 295-A (deliberate
and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).

The issue figured in Karnataka Assembly where Home
Minister V S Acharya said "very strict" action would be taken
against Nityananda after receiving feedback from Tamil Nadu.

He was responding to opposition Congress leader
Siddaramaiah who sought immediate arrest and confiscation of
property of Nityananda.

Acharya said there were disputes over ownership of the
land where the ashram is located at Bidadi in Ramanagara
District near Bangalore. It appeared to be government land.

He said Karnataka State Reserve Police personnel has been
deployed at Bidadi to maintain law and order.

Karunanidhi said if the media had any evidence of such
acts of self-styled godmen, they should hand it over to the
government and police to enable them discharge their duties.

He was worried that society should not get spoilt more by
such obscene contents, Karunanidhi said adding "I am appealing
to you on behalf of the government to refrain from such acts
(publishing or telecasting)."

The Nitayananda Dhyanapeetam has termed the video
"defamatory" and said it`s a "mix of conspiracy, graphics and
rumour". It said the ashram was contemplating legal recourse.

The Bangalore based ashram manager Sevananda has filed a
police complaint stating he had received calls from Chennai,
threatening to expose the alleged sleazy acts of Nityananda.

He had said the caller threatened to provide footage of
the acts to the media and had demanded money not to release
it. The clippings were "morphed", he said.

Nityananda, in his early 30s, has sizeable sections of
followers in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu besides overseas
followers.

A Chennai court had yesterday ordered issue of notice to
a private TV channel, two newspapers and a biweekly on a suit
by the ashram seeking to restrain them from telecasting or
publishing any article on Nityananda and posted the case to
March 8.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 4, 2010 - 18:38

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