Ahmedabad, November 22
The Gujarat Police are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other agencies to know the whereabouts of self styled godman Swami Nithyananda, against whom a case was registered for allegedly kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram in Ahmedabad.
The Gujarat police on Thursday had said that Nithyananda has fled the country, and the police are working to gather concrete evidence against him.
Ahmedabad Rural Superintendent of Police (SP) RV Asari told IANS, "We have registered a case against Nithyananda and others and arrested two of his disciples Sadhvi Pran Priyananda and Priyatatva Riddhi Kiran on charges of allegedly kidnapping at least four children, keeping them in illegal confinement in a flat and using them as child labourers to promote activities of the ashram to collect donations." When asked about the whereabouts of Nithyananda, Asari said, "We are in touch with various other agencies to know the whereabouts of the godman." Pressed further, the Ahmedabad Rural SP said, "We are also in touch with MEA as we have to follow the proper channels." Nithyananda was booked on similar charges after police recorded statements of the four children who were rescued from a flat.
According to Gujarat Police, Sadhvi Pran Priyananda and Priyatatva Riddhi Kiran were responsible for managing the ashram.
Another senior police officer related to the probe said that the two disciples of Nithyananda were arrested after two children in the age group of 9 and 10 years, enrolled at the ashram, told the cops that they were tortured and made to work as child labour and kept in illegal confinement at a flat in the city for over 10 days.
He said, the accused persons have been booked under sections for kidnapping, wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter of the Indian Penal Code. IANS
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