Self-proclaimed godman Swami Nityananda, who was reportedly under the scanner ever since a video of him in a compromising position with Tamil actress Ranjitha surfaced, on Tuesday announced his decision to step down as the chief of the ‘Dhyanapeetam Ashram’ and all other trusts associated with it.
Addressing his followers on his official website, Nityananda said, “I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time and to enable the Dhyanapeetam to function with such amended agenda as may be necessary.”
“I am resigning as the head of the Dhyanapeetam and from all the trusts associated with it,” he added.
Swami Nityananda, who is facing criminal cases including that of rape further said, “In view of the developments in the last three weeks following the media reports about me as the head of Dhyanapeetam, I had met some of the leading acharyas of Hindu Dharma at Haridwar Kumbh Mela,” adding that he had briefed them about the truth.
“Candidly discussing what had happened, I had sought their spiritual and moral support, guidance for me, and their views on the future course of Dhyanapeetam. I had also undertaken that I would act entirely in accordance with their counsel,” he claimed.
The Karnataka High Court has turned down the godman’s bail plea for anticipatory bail.
The court had on March 24 ordered the state police to produce all documents relating to the cases filed against Swami Nithyananda, who is facing allegations of involvement in a sex scandal.
Following a petition by the swami seeking to quash the cases, justice Arali Nagaraj issued a notice to the Bidadi police, directing them to produce all documents and records concerning the variouscriminal cases, including rape, registered against the godman.
The swami had filed a writ petition in the high court, challenging the first information report (FIR) registered against him by the Bidadi police. Besides asking the court to quash the FIR, he had also sought a stay on all the other proceedings against him. Nithyananda had contended that as per the provisions of the law, only the sufferers could file complaints, and not a third party.
The petition contended that Karuppa Lenin, a former disciple and driver of the swami, had conspired to defame the religious institution by levelling charges against him.
The Chennai police had lodged various cases against the godman, including rape, under the Indian Penal Code after Lenin filed a complaint against him on March 3. The Ramanagaram police had, in turn, handed over the case to the CID.
In his petition, Nithyanananda submitted that prima facie, no complaint had been filed by any victim or aggrieved person and Lenin’s complaint was governed by an ulterior motive. It was unfortunate that an act aimed at assassinating the character of theswami had been glorified by the media, it added.