Drama at Nityananda ashram over US court summons

Tension prevailed at the Nityananda Dhyanapeetam ashram near Bidadi on Thursday when the godman’s disciples tried to force out the reporter of a news channel from the press conference called by Swami Nityananda to clear the air about allegations levelled against him by one of his former disciples, Aarathi Rao. The reporter produced a summons issued by a US court against Nityananda and sought his reaction. At first, Nityananda denied any summons was issued by the US court. When the reporter reminded him that the summons had been issued thrice and the Ashram staff had not told him about it, he still denied the existence of any summons. “If I did not receive the summons, the court could have issued a non-bailable warrant,” he said.

A lawyer accompanying the reporter showed the summons, which angered Nityananda, who immediately directed his disciples to send both the reporter and advocate out of the press meet. Some of the assembled journalists opposed the move and were abused by the disciples. The reporters later walked out. The TV reporter later filed a complaint against Nithyananda and four of his followers alleging of physical assault and threat to his life, police said.

The press conference was called to respond to the allegations made a few days ago by Aarathi Rao in a TV interview, that Nityananda had sexually harassed her for years. She claimed she had exposed the sex scandal by placing a camera inside his rest room. Nityananda alleged that Ms Rao suffered from herpes and had come to the ashram for treatment. “I do not know much about her. She is not attending the court hearing regularly and the court has issued summons against her. Now, she is simply making baseless allegations against me,” he said.

“I will produce all the documents related to her in the court of law. I have enough documents to show that her allegations are baseless,” he added. He said Ms Rao had been making these allegations since the last two years. “Same is mentioned even in the CID chargesheet against me. All are baseless and aimed at tarnishing my image," he said. “Ms Aarathi Rao made allegations to stop Madurai Adheenam, Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya from accepting me as his Uttaradhikari”, he added.

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