Nithyananda surrenders in court near Bangalore

Bangalore: Controversial godman Nithyananda unexpectedly surrendered today before a court in Ramanagaram, near Bangalore and was remanded to one day judicial custody following charges of assault.

Nithyananda had approached the Bangalore High Court for anticipatory bail on Tuesday. The court today sent a notice to the state government to file its objections to this bail. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Friday.

Two years ago, an alleged sex tape was played in a local television channel which featured him and an actress. After this, Nithyananda left his ashram in Bidadi outside Bangalore, only to be arrested from Himachal Pradesh days later on rape charges.

He was later released on bail.

Last week, at a press conference at his ashram, there was a scuffle with a reporter from a local channel. This was followed by protests by Kannada activists who filed charges against him. The Karnataka state government stepped into the act with the chief minister saying that Nithyananda’s bail should be cancelled and the godman arrested.

Nithyananda’s whereabouts were not known over the last few days. It was believed that he might be at a mutt in Madurai, where he had been appointed head recently.

Recently, a woman from the US went public with allegations that she had been sexually abused by him at his ashram for five years.

Nithyananda had not been seen at his ashram since June 9; the police searched his 22-acre ashram yesterday and this morning, hoping to find information that could lead them to him.

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