Bangalore, June 13: Controversial Hindu religious guru Nityananda Swami, who was missing from his ashram for five days following allegations of sexual exploitation of women, was Wednesday taken into “protective custody” by Karnataka Police.
The 32-year-old, who is also facing rape charges, came to a trial court in Ramanagaram, about 50 km from here, to surrender after cases were slapped against him and his disciples over fracas at his ashram near here last Thursday and Friday.
Ramanagaram district police superintendent Anupam Agarwal told IANS that when Nityananda sought to surrender, trial court Judge Komala (who uses only one name) asked him to appear before the court Thursday.
Hence, he was taken into “protective custody” in view of the tense situation in Bidadi, 35 km from here, where Nityananda has an ashram on a 29-acre plot, Agarwal said.
Bidadi is in Ramanagaram district.
Chief Minister D. V. Sadananda Gowda June 11 ordered Nityananda’s arrest and sealing of his ashram in the wake of trouble with media personnel last Thursday and a group of Kannada activists the next day.
Nityananda had called a press conference to give his version of the story following telecast by a Kannada TV channel of interviews of several women who alleged that they had been sexually exploited by him.
Ramanagaram police have filed cases against Nityananda and his disciples as also against Kannada activists for the fracas at the ashram last week.
The guru went missing from his ashram late Thursday and suddenly appeared before the Ramanagaram court Wednesday, though earlier in the day he had issued a media statement that he would be back in his ashram Thursday.
After the chief minister’s order to seal the ashram and arrest Nityananda, Ramanagaram police have been searching the premises for the last two days for any evidence of alleged immoral and objectionable activities there.
Nityananda faces a rape case filed in 2010 following telecast by a Tamil TV channel of a video showing him in sexual acts.
Soon after the telecast, Nityananda went into hiding for over a month from March to April. Karnataka Police found him in Solan in Himachal Pradesh and he was sent to a jail in Bangalore for about seven weeks.
He has been out on bail since June 2010.