The Interpol has issued a blue corner notice to locate self-styled godman Nithyananda on a request from the Gujarat Police, PTI reported on Wednesday. Nithyananda is accused of abducting children and using them to raise money for his ashram in Hirapur, almost 50 km from Ahmedabad.
A blue corner notice makes it mandatory for member countries to share the whereabouts of a person. Police said they were working towards getting a red corner notice issued against Nithyananda by the Interpol. Such a notice would make him eligible for arrest.
The Gujarat Police revealed the development in a chargesheet filed in a local court.
Nithyananda is believed to have fled the country in November, after which the Gujarat Police turned to the Ministry of External Affairs and investigative agencies for help. The government then cancelled Nithyananda’s passport and also rejected his application for a fresh one.
Two of Nithyananda’s disciples – identified as Pranpriyanand and Riddhi Kiran – were arrested in November and charged with kidnapping, assault, and illegal confinement. They used to manage the Hirapur ashram.
The police said Pranpriyanand and Riddhi Kiran were arrested after two children alleged they were confined, tortured and forced to work at an apartment for more than 10 days. Similar accusations were levelled by two other minors 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.
In June 2018, a court in Karnataka had framed rape charges against Nithyananda.
Media reports in December claimed that Nithyananda had founded an independent country called “Kailaasa” near Ecuador in Latin America. However, the Indian government said: “Setting up a website is different from setting up a nation.” The Ecuadorian government also denied that it had granted asylum to the religious leader.