New Delhi: The government has cancelled passport of controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda and rejected his application for a fresh one, Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement on Friday (December 6).
Declining to comment on Nithyananda's proclaiming a 'Hindu homeland Kailaasa', MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that when the ministry was informed about the various cases which the self-styled godman was linked to, they cancelled his passport. Kumar said the godman had applied for a fresh passport, 'which was denied, and put on hold because of adverse police report'.
"We have sensitized our missions and posts, that he is wanted for several crimes in India, so that if he transits the country or is in that country we should be informed," he said.
Kumar said that Nithyananda had a passport issued in 2008 with a 10-year validity. But it was cancelled before 2018. Nithyananda had applied for a fresh passport, but was denied police clearance. Nithyananda had allegedly fled India without a passport to save himself from a rape case registered against him in Karnataka.
According to IANS, Nithyananda's real name is Rajashekharan and he is a native of Tamil Nadu. He opened an ashram near Bengaluru in the early 2000s. His teachings were said to be based on those of Osho Rajneesh.
In 2010 a video of him in a compromising position with an actress emerged online and he was later arrested on charges of rape. He was also arrested and charge-sheeted in a separate case of rape later. According to reports, Nithyananda is now being investigated by French authorities for alleged fraud worth $4,00,000.
Last month, an FIR was registered against Nithyananda after two girls went missing from his ashram in Ahmedabad - Yogini Sarvagyapeetham. He was charged with kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram.