A self-styled godman, Nithyananda ran a number of ashrams across the country (File Photo)
Interpol on Wednesday (January 22) issued a Blue Corner notice to help locate fugitive self-styled godman Nithyananda, weeks after the Gujarat Police sought the agency’s intervention for this, PTI reported. Nithyananda fled India last year amid allegations of rape and sexual abuse.
Explained: What is a 'Blue Corner' notice?
According to the Interpol website, “Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.”
There are seven types of notices — Red Notice, Yellow Notice, Blue Notice, Black Notice, Green Notice, Orange Notice, and Purple Notice. The Blue Notice is issued to “collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.”
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) website refers to Blue Notices as ‘B Series (Blue) Notices’. It says, “The 'B' series notices are also called 'enquiry notices' and may be issued in order to have someone's identity verified; to obtain particulars of a person's criminal record; to locate someone who is missing or is an identified or unidentified international criminal or is wanted for a violation of ordinary criminal law and whose extradition may be requested.”
Who is Nithyananda?
A self-styled godman, Nithyananda ran a number of ashrams across the country and headed the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam, a religious organisation he founded.
According to a video available on his website, Nithyananda attained ‘enlightenment’ at the age of 12. The video introduces him as a spiritual leader of Hinduism and claims that he runs centres in 47 countries. In 2010, a video of Nithyananda had surfaced on news channels, wherein he was purportedly shown engaging in sexual acts with a Tamil actress. He had defended himself at the time saying he was merely ‘practising the shavasana’ and that he was impotent.
Since June 2018, he has been under trial for rape, unnatural sex, cheating and criminal intimidation in connection with complaints brought against him by two former devotees.
In November last year, a couple from Tamil Nadu approached the Gujarat State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and complained that their four children were under illegal confinement at Nithyananda’s ashram in Ahmedabad. Police entered the ashram on November 16 and rescued the younger children. The two older children were not found at the ashram.
In Photos | Nithyananda and his many controversies
In the same month, the Gujarat Police said that self-styled godman had fled the country. In December, while on the run, Nithyananda reportedly formed a new nation of his own called ‘Kailaasa’. Its website describes Kailaasa as the “greatest Hindu nation on earth”, and has its own flag and emblem.