Supreme Court Orders A Speedy Trial For Nithyananda Rape And Cheating Case
December 8th, 2017 / 5:27 PM
The Supreme Court encouraged the Ramanagara sessions court in Karnataka to form charges against self-proclaimed Godman Nithyananda Swami as soon as possible. The delay in charge sheet formation brought by the lawyers of the accused will not be tolerated.
Nithyananda is accused of sexual assault, rape, cheating and criminal intimidation.
The Ramanagara Police registered a case under 295 A (insulting religious belief), 420 (cheating), 376 (rape), 377 (unnatural sex), 506 (i) (Criminal Intimidation) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code against him in 2010, when Lenin Karuppan, a former devotee and follower of the “Godman” exposed him and filed a complaint. Following this, Nithyananda has been arrested twice, got successful bails and delayed the trial for seven years.
Back in March 2010, a video went viral in the southern TV channels, which shook people. Nithyananda Swami, the self-proclaimed Godman who owned and ran the Dhyanapeetham ashram in Bidadi, Bengaluru and Tamil actress Ranjitha was seen in a compromising position. Both of them, of course, promptly denied the authenticity of the video. Ranjitha even sent notices to Google and Youtube to take the “fake thing” down. Lenin Karuppan claimed to have shot the video and said that he lost faith in his guru when he saw him sleeping around with other women.
Ranjitha held a press conference later to brand the video as fabricated and answered other allegations which included alibis and accusations to the authorities involved in airing the clip. The manager of Nithyananda’s Dhyanapeeta Charitable Trust, Nithya Atmaprabhananda filed a complaint with the city police commissioner against many people who reported against the “Godman”, allegedly for extortion of money. Among his accused were Sun TV Chief Operating Officer (COO) Hansraj Saxena, his aide Ayyappan, Tamil bi-weekly Nakheeran Editor R Gopal and five more people. Ranjitha filed a case in 2011 at a Bengaluru court, which ordered a CID investigation into the video.
In 2012, the situation got revived as fresh charges of rape and confinement against the Godman appeared, resulting in Nithyananda going into hiding for five days, only to surrender before Police. In those days the Police investigation and Manhunt team found condoms and Marijuana in large amounts from the ashram complex, following which the ashram was sealed.
During this period, another follower of Nithyananda came out to speak about her five-year experience with the man in detailed length. The ex-disciple, Arathi Rao, claimed that he repeatedly raped her and threatened her with dire consequences if she dared to go public about those encounters. Arathi’s allegation galvanised the government to launch a probe on “Sex Swami”, many followers kept on saying that she deliberately made this up to taint their guru’s name. But with time, more and more women spoke up about the man’s misdeeds.
The revelations included a non-disclosure agreement, which the man made the devotees sign. The Agreement read this:
Volunteer understands that the Program may involve the learning and practice of ancient tantric secrets associated with male and female ecstasy, including the use of sexual energy for increased intimacy/spiritual connection, pleasure, harmony, and freedom. Volunteer understands that these activities could be physically and mentally challenging, and may involve nudity, access to visual images, graphic visual depictions, and descriptions of nudity and sexual activity, close physical proximity and intimacy, verbal and written descriptions and audio sounds of a sexually oriented, and erotic nature, etc.
Meanwhile, Forensic Sciences Laboratory in Bengaluru has confirmed that the video is not morphed and Nithyananda and Ranjitha were indeed the two people in the debated video.
In 2013, Ranjitha took a vow to be a nun under that Ashram and went on to call herself Ma Anandamayi.
On October 11 this year, the high court passed an interim order, which forbade Nithyananda and his people to enter the Madurai Adheenam.
While Nithyananda kept on leading his lifestyle, giving speeches, organising programmes and the usual business, the Supreme Court has asked the sessions court to form charges faster.
Nithyananda’s lawyers were trying to delay the trial by promising to enquire and present further evidence to support the accused. The apex court destroyed the possibility by asking the trial court to ignore those. As told by Ashwin Vaish, the advocate on the victims’ behalf, “In that case, the SC had said that at the stage of arguments and charges, the trial court is not supposed to look into the defence of the accused but only the documents mentioned in the charge sheet.”
The 44-year-old man earlier tried to present medical reports showing himself as impotent, but the claim got discarded after Victoria Hospital gave a proper report when Supreme Court ordered for an authentic test.
The hearing will be on the coming second of January in Ramanagara Sessions Court.
The Logical Indian Take
In a country where people’s religions and beliefs hold them together, their exploitations are growing at an alarming rate. It is high time we stop letting religion-preachers cloud our eyes with false and illogical promises. There are many people like the recently exposed Ram Rahim baba who pretended to be a Guru, only to abuse and exploit them for money, sex, or power. The crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, and The Logical Indian urges everyone to be logical about the all pretentious “Godmen”, religions and beliefs aside.
Written by : Aishi Roy (Intern)
Edited by : Poorbita Bagchi