Out on bail, Nithyananda told not to preach or teach

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Bangalore, 11 June 2010: Nearly 50 days after his arrest, self-styled godman Nithyananda was on Friday granted conditional bail by the Karnataka High Court. While granting the bail, the court has asked him not to teach, preach or breach. Nithyananda spent 50 days behind bars for alleged rape and unnatural sex with his devotees.

Justice Subhash B Adi, who presided over the case, made some pointed remarks to Nithyananda’s advocate, saying that a renunciate “should have strong determination and courage and be free from all attachments...which cannot be discussed in court.” It was an oblique referance to the explosive CD that had spelt trouble for Nithyananda.

When the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID) counsel declared that the agency had found no evidence to proceed further against Nithyananda, Justice Adi reminded the godman that the secretly taped video of his sexual dalliance with Tamil actress Ranjitha and many other allegations of sexual transgressions had “hurt peoples’ religious sentiments which is more than a stab injury”.

Nithyananda was directed by the court to furnish a bond of Rupees one lakh and two sureties with a direction to appear before the jurisdictional police once every fifteen days.
According to former devotees, who were outraged by Nithyananda’s sexual acts and the controversial “non-disclosure agreement” which gave him carte blanche to indulge in tantra sex, the godman will now try to project himself as someone who has been wronged rather than someone who has wronged hundreds, if not thousands, of devotees.

The conditional bail apart, Nithyananda will have to contend with the investigations that the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax authorities and the Ramanagara district administration are conducting for alleged financial irregularities and land-related offences.

Following the memo filed by the CID that the accused was not required for investigation and there was no evidence against him till now, Justice Adi ordered bail, saying “circumstances warrant that the accused has to be enlarged on bail.” Before signing the bail order, Justice Adi reserved some words of caution and preaching for the godman who would sway hundreds through his so-called spiritual discourses. Justice Adi said Nithyananda had fallen short of his image as a spiritual head. Pointing out that hurting peoples’ religious sentiments (Section 295 A under IPC) will invite a three-year imprisonment, the court said that Nithyananda had claimed himself to be an incarnation of Brahma Vishnu, Maheshwara and Krishna. In this context, Justice Adi restrained the godman from conducting spiritual preaching and classes except yoga. Nithyananda will also have to surrender his passport to the CID.

Hundreds of devotees quit his organisation after the sex video went public on March 2, denouncing Nithyananda and some of his senior devotees. They believed that the godman had deeply hurt their sentiments and the respect in which they held him as a guru. Following the expose, Nithyananda claimed to have resigned from all positions of the trusts he headed. His so-called Vedic Temple in Los Angeles shut down and NRI devotees claimed their monetary donations made to him back.

Only a handful of devotees at the infamous Bidadi ashram where, in his bedroom he was filmed in a sex romp with Tamil actress Ranjitha, remain loyal to Nithyananda. The ashram and his so-called biography remain testimony to the lies (over his date of birth) and deception (that the banyan tree in the ashram was 600 hundred years old) he spun to win over devotees.

Since June 12 is a second Saturday, the court permitted Nithyananda to approach the Ramanagara magistrate either on Saturday or Sunday to complete the formalities on his release on bail.


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