Thursday, July 1, 2010

Update: Nithyananda gets Bail, but High Court Orders Tainted Swami not to Preach

The high court of Karnataka on Friday granted conditional bail to self-styled godman Paramahamsa Nithyananda, facing criminal charges including rape. The court observed that he had fallen short of his image as a spiritual leader.

The tainted Nithyananda, however, would be freed only on Monday from the sub-jail in Ramanagara, where he has been languishing since May 1.

Nithyananda’s disciple, Nithya Bhaktananda alias Gopal Seelam Reddy, arrested with the swami on April 21, was also granted bail for a surety of Rs50,000.

According to bail conditions, Nithyananda, aka Rajashekharan, 32, has to furnish a personal bond of Rs1 lakh, besides two local sureties. He cannot preach or teach, but can conduct activities like yoga and meditation.

The court also restrained Nithyananda from moving out of the jurisdictional limits of Ramanagara without the permission of the sessions court there. He was also directed to appear before the jurisdictional police once in every 15 days.

Nithyananda, high court judge justice Subash B Adi observed, had claimed to be an incarnation of the trinity of the Hindu pantheon, Brahma, Maheshwara and Vishnu. However, the controversial video, aired on March 2, had hurt the sentiments of several people. “Such an image of a sanyasi, has hurt the sentiments of people, which is worse than a stab injury,” the judge observed.

The video purportedly showed Nithyananda in a compromising position with a Tamil actress.

“Nithyananda had fallen short of his image as a spiritual head, a sanyasi and a guru who should be free from all attachments and should have strong determination and courage,” justice Adi said.

The judge granted bail on grounds of lack of evidence about the criminal charges, and also considering Nithyananda’s personal liberty.

Noting that Article 21 of the Constitution guaranteed personal liberty and freedom to every citizen, the court said in view of the facts and circumstances, the swami’s detention was not warranted.

Justice Adi also observed that though the investigating officer had appealed to the public through newspapers calling upon them to register complaints, if they had any, against Nithyananda, there was no response.

The public prosecutor filed a memo, saying no statement was recorded. The memo also added that there were no witnesses against Nithyananda.

The court pointed out that the investigators had not recorded the statement of the actress, purportedly shown in the clipping.

The actress had not lodged any complaint against Nithyananda.


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