Controversial guru Nityananda granted bail

Bangalore, June 15: Controversial Hindu guru Nityananda Swami was Friday granted bail by a local court at Ramanagara, about 40 km from here.

“Executive magistrate Sri Rama Reddy granted bail to my client and asked him to deposit two surety bonds of Rs.100,000 each for his release from jail,” Swami’s advocate Muddu Malai told reporters outside the court premises.

Police took the 32-year-old guru into preventive custody late Thursday after the magistrate remanded him to a day’s judicial custody on the grounds that his presence in his ashram at Bidadi, about 30 km from here, would lead to breach of peace and can create law and order problem due to public anger against him.

The tainted godman, who is originally facing rape charges, has been lodged in Mysore prison, about 150 km from here since late Thursday.

He has been accused by at least five former women devotees of sexually abusing them in his ashram over a period of time under the pretext of taking them into trance through spiritual (tantric) exercises and indulging in other unlawful acts.

“We have challenged the arrest and judicial custody of Swami by the local police as he had not committed any crime or violated any law. Threat to his life and fears of his presence in the ashram causing public disorder is baseless,” Malai said.

After vanishing from his ‘Dhaynapeetam’ ashram June 9 and hiding at Madurai in Tamil Nadu for five days, Swami suddenly appeared in the district court Wednesday for bail in a related case filed against him by a Kannada news channel for causing hurt and criminal intimidation of its reporter June 7 at a media conference he convened to refute the rape charges.

The local news channel televised the charges levelled by Aarti Rao, a former devotee of Swami, who currently lives in the US and other former devotees in a series of interviews since June 3.

Though district sessions judge Komala granted Swami bail Thursday after declining to hear his bail plea Wednesday, police arrested him under sections 151 and 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and sought a day’s judicial remand.

Swami was earlier arrested in April 2010 at Solan in Himachal Pradesh after Tamil news channels aired a video-footage of his alleged sexual acts with a South Indian actress.

The Karnataka High Court granted Swami bail in June 2010 after he remained in jail for over 50 days.

IANS