BANGALORE: The Karnataka government on Thursday ordered a probe into the land held by spiritual guru Swami Nithyananda Paramahamsa following the revelation of video footage allegedly of him in a compromising position with a Tamil film actor.
"The land at Bidadi in neighbouring Ramanagaram district held by the ashram basically belongs to the government and hence a probe is now necessary," Karnataka home minister V S Acharya said in the legislative assembly. Replying to the opposition demand for the godman's arrest and confiscation of his property, he said: "When it is the government's land, it is ours. How can we confiscate?"
He said the land earlier reserved for cattle grazing had been given to the ashram some years ago. The Ramanagram deputy commissioner has been asked to conduct a detailed probe and submit his report to the government and initiate necessary action, Acharya said. "If there are violations regarding the grant, the government will take steps to get the land back," he added. He, however, assured stringent action against the absconding godman. Acharya said: "We're already in touch with the Tamil Nadu police, who have launched a manhunt for him."
Following a tip-off, he said forest department officials had conducted a raid late Wednesday night and managed to seize 26 kg of sandalwood at the Bidadi ashram. The ashram staff maintained that thieves who had stolen sandalwood trees from the premises had abandoned some logs while escaping, he added. Though there was information that deer and tiger skins were used in the ashram, Acharya said the officials did not find any such things.
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