Karnataka Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on Monday ordered the arrest of Nithyananda for the recent attack on media persons, allegedly by his devotees, at the Dhyanapeetam ashram where they had gone for a press conference convened by him.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Home Minister R. Ashok and Law Minister S. Suresh Kumar about the incident at the ashram at Bidadi, on the outskirts of the city, Mr. Gowda said that Nithyananda was absconding after the incident. He had ordered his devotees to remove the representatives of a television channel from the press conference venue.

Director-General and Inspector-General of Police Lal Rukoma Pachau briefed the meeting about the events at the Dhyanapeetam. Nithyananda got angry when a television reporter asked him whether he refused to accept a court warrant and prevented police personnel from entering the Dhyanapeetam to serve it.

There was an exchange of words and he asked the devotees to remove the reporter. This led to protests by local Kannada activists demanding his arrest and the closing down of the ashram.

The Chief Minister said that the Regional Commissioner, Bangalore Division, Shambulal Meena, would hold an inquiry into the incidents and submit a report to the government for taking legal action against Nithyananda and the devotees.

Mr. Gowda also said that the ashram would be locked till the inquiry was completed or action taken.

Though he did not mention on what specific grounds Nithyananda, who is accused number one in the first information report, would be arrested, officers accompanying the Chief Minister said that it was related to the attack on the media personnel.

Mr. Meena, when contacted for details of the inquiry into the incident, said that he had not yet received orders from the government. He would start work after receiving the terms of reference.