The State Government on Thursday said it would take very strict action against absconding godman Nithyananda Swami, whose controversial video footage appeared on a Tamil television channel allegedly showing him in a compromising position.

Home Minister V.S. Acharya told the Legislative Assembly that “very strict” action would be taken against Nityananda Swami, after receiving information from Tamil Nadu, where his main ashram is located.

Mr. Acharya said there were disputes over ownership of the land where the ashram is located at Bidadi and it appeared to be Government land. “When it is government's land, how can we confiscate?” Mr Acharya asked.

He said Karnataka State Reserve Police personnel had been deployed at Bidadi to maintain law and order. There were complaints that deer and tiger skins were used in the Bidadi ashram, but during a raid by Forest department officials they were not found. But officials recovered 26 kg of sandalwood.

The ashram had complained that thieves had stolen sandalwood trees from the ashram premises earlier but left behind some pieces.

Earlier, raising the issue, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah sought immediate arrest and confiscation of property of Nityananda Swami, who has an ashram at Bidadi in neighbouring Ramanagara district.

An angry mob on Wednesday attacked the ashram near Bidadi.Mr Siddaramaiah said: “Criminal case and non-bailable offence should be registered against him, and he should be sent to jail”.

Inquiry

Following demand by members of the Legislative Council, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister S. Suresh Kumar on Thursday said the State Government would conduct an inquiry into the alleged sex scandal involving the head of the Dhyanapeetam, Swami Nityananda.

He said the Government would also take a decision on issues related to the property of Dhyanapeetam, near Bidadi.

Earlier, members cutting across party affiliations, expressed concern over the alleged sexual scandal which was exposed in a sting operation by a private television channel.

The members expressed concern that such episodes involving “tainted monks” would make the people to look at even the genuine spiritual leaders with suspicion.

‘Defamatory'

The Nitayananda Dhyanapeetam termed the video “defamatory” and said it is a “mix of conspiracy, graphics and rumour”. It said the organisation was contemplating legal recourse.