Controversial self -styled godman Nithyananda who is accused of raping his former disciple in the garb of spirituality remains absconding, amid fears that he may have fled the country. Nithyananda is set to skip yet another court hearing on Thursday in the rape case at the trial court in Karnatakaâs Ramanagara. This, despite the Supreme Court calling for a speedy trial in the case, through an order in December 2017.
According to some of his former disciples, Nithyananda has left the country through Nepal where Indians can travel without a passport. He has allegedly applied for refugee status in a South American island nation.
However, sources in the Karnataka CID confirmed to TNM that he has not left the country using any airport or port in India. Incidentally, his passport had expired in September and was not renewed due to the rape case against him.
CID sources add that he is not in Varanasi either, as claimed by people in his ashram. A CID officer told TNM, âWe have been trying to keep an eye on him since the arrest warrant was issued.â
A non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued by the Third Additional District and Session Court in Ramanagara in September was challenged by Nithyananda at the Karnataka High Court. The NBW was issued after Nithyananda failed to appear before the court despite multiple summons. The HC had reserved its judgement after hearing arguments for three months.
The court in Ramanagara had begun trial against Nithyananda eight years after an FIR was registered against him, as the godman was successful in delaying the trial by approaching higher courts and changing his stance from âbeing impotentâ to having consensual sex with his disciple. Even now, with the HC reserving its judgement, this has favoured Nithyananda in evading arrest.
Previously, Nithyananda had told the trial court that he was doing âChatur masa parikramaâ in Varanasi and would appear in court from October. But he has not appeared in the trial court since June. He has pleaded not guilty to Sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 420 (cheating), 114 (criminal abetment), 201 (disappearance of evidence, giving false information), 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.
Recently, Nithyananda had also failed to appear before the Central Crime Branch of Bengaluru police for advocating the use of ganja, in a video that had gone viral on social media.
Incidentally, Nithyananda's disciple in the United States had organised an event called âNlighten 2018â in Newark, where he was scheduled to lecture a live audience. But two days before the event, on November 30, the organisers claimed that Nithyananda would deliver his speech via video conferencing as his visa was denied due to technicalities.
His passport had expired by then, which implies that he could not have been in the US legally.