Lenin Karuppan, a former disciple, who exposed the controversial self-styled godman in 2010, has moved the High Court seeking transfer of the rape case against Nithyananda to Bengaluru from the Additional District and Session Court in Ramanagara.
Justice G Narendra, who was hearing the transfer petition in the High Court, on Monday issued a notice to the state government in connection with the absconding rape-accused Nithyananda. He also sought a reply from the state government about the Nithyananda’s whereabouts -- he has been skipping court since mid-2018.
The transfer petition will next be heard again on December 12.
Nithyananda is facing trial under Sections 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 420 (cheating), 114 (criminal abetment), 201 (disappearance of evidence, giving false information), 120B (criminal conspiracy) and other charges under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Since the complaint was filed in 2010, Nithyananda has been arrested twice and been granted bail from higher courts, successfully delaying the start of the trial. Ultimately, the victims approached the apex court to seek justice.
In 2014, the Supreme Court had dismissed a petition by Nithyananda seeking to quash the chargesheet in the rape case against him. He continued to file petitions to delay the proceedings and submitted documents claiming innocence, including a fabricated potency report.
Currently, Nithyananda is suspected to have left the country through illegal means. The Ministry of External Affairs on Friday stated that it has cancelled his passport, and rejected his application for a fresh one. The MEA stated that his passport was due for renewal in September 2018 but was cancelled much before that and was not renewed.
Amongst other criminal cases against him, Nithyananda is wanted by Gujarat Police as well in connection with a child abuse and abduction case. In late November, two of his associates were arrested, and Nithyananda was booked under sections 365 (abduction), 344 (wrongful confinement), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, and under Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act.
Ramanagara court proceedings
Meanwhile, the Ramanagara trial court on Monday did not allow a petition to issue a non-bailable warrant against Nithyananda. In fact, sources claimed the court allowed the exemption petition filed by Nithyananda’s advocate, despite objections from the Public Prosecutor.
The trial court was also informed that Lenin has filed a transfer petition in the Karnataka High Court.
Curiously, the trial court which has allowed exemption petition for Nithyananda was insistent on Lenin deposing before court and submit evidence, failing which the court warned of contempt proceedings.
The trial is set to continue on Tuesday as well.