The Gujarat Police on Friday said they are in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs and investigative agencies to find self-styled godman Nithyananda, IANS reported. This came a day after the police said he fled the country.
Nithyananda is accused of abducting children and using them to raise money for his ashram.
“We are in touch with various other agencies to know the whereabouts of the godman,” Ahmedabad (Rural) Superintendent of Police RV Asari told IANS. “We are also in touch with MEA as we have to follow the proper channels.”
On Thursday, the foreign ministry said it had not received any “formal information” on Nithyananda from the state police or the home ministry, adding that any extradition request needs to mention the location of the person.
Two of Nithyananda’s disciples – identified as Pranpriyanand and Riddhi Kiran – who were arrested on Tuesday, were charged with kidnapping, assault, and illegal confinement. A rural court in Ahmedabad sent them to five days in police custody on Wednesday evening.
The disciples used to manage the ashram in Hirapur, almost 50 km from Ahmedabad.
Police said they were arrested after two children alleged they were confined, tortured and made to work at an apartment for more than 10 days. Similar accusations were levelled by two other minors, who were rescued from the ashram after their parents filed complaints. The accused were also booked under Section 14 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986.
Meanwhile, police on Thursday also arrested the principal of the Delhi Public School in Hirapur village. Police said Hitesh Puri violated government norms while leasing out the school land for Nithyananda’s ashram. “We held Hitesh Puri after the school was found violating a notification issued by the district collector pertaining to owners required to inform the police when leasing out their property on rent,” senior police officer KT Kamariya said.
This is not the first time Nithyananda has been accused of committing a crime. In June 2018, a court in Karnataka had framed charges against him in a rape case.