After the arrest of two disciples on charges of kidnapping , wrongful confinement and using children to collect donations from followers, controversial self-styled godman Swamy Nithyananda has fled the country, Gujarat Police said on Thursday.
“We have learnt that Swamy Nithyananda has escaped from the country after a rape case was registered against him in Karnataka,” said Ahmedabad (Rural) Superintendent of Police (SP) R.V. Asari. He said the State police would go through the proper channel to seek his custody in connection with the case filed here. Since he was a key accused in the case, he would be arrested on his return to the country, he said.
His disciples Pranpriya and Priyatatva were arrested on Tuesday and sent to five days’ police remand by a rural court here the next day. They were being questioned.
Meanwhile, police on Thursday also arrested the Principal of the Delhi Public School near Ahmedabad where Nithyananda set up his ashram. According to police officials, Hitesh Puri violated government norms while leasing out land for the ashram. He was later released on bail.
“School authorities failed to produce documents informing the police about leasing out the land,” said K.T. Kamaria, senior police official probing the sensational case.
Two children aged 9 and 10 years enrolled at the ashram had told the police they were tortured, made to work and kept in illegal confinement at a flat in the city for over ten days. Similar allegations were made by two other children rescued from the ashram in a complaint filed by their parents.
On Thursday, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) sought a report from the Gujarat Education department explaining how the school’s land was leased out to Nithyananda’s ashram in Ahmedabad without its permission. DPS is affiliated to the CBSE.