BANGALORE: The official spokesperson for Nityananda Dhyanapeetam ashram, Swami Athmakrubananda denied that the spiritual leader went into hiding after controversial visuals of him and a Tamil actress went on air on a Tamil television channel, Press Trust of India (PTI) reports Friday.
Instead, he said that the Swami Nityananda had gone to attend the Kumbha Mela, a mass Hindu pilgrimage and would meet the press "when required".
On Wednesday, Nityananda Swami, a self-styled god-man running several ashrams in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, landed in trouble with the telecast of video footages by a TV channel showing him in compromising positions with a Tamil actress.
Following the footages, the official spokesperson denied the allegations completely, and claimed such controversy as a result of a "conspiracy" to malign the spiritual leader's reputation.
"It is a big controversy. Images have been morphed to show that the person in the video is Swami Nityananda. He has not done anything wrong," Swami Athmakrubananda, the official spokesperson of the ashram told reporters in Chennai.
Nityananda Dhyanapeetam, the main ashram, is located in Tamil Nadu.
Following widespread protests, the Karnataka government has said that 'very strict' action would be taken against the absconding swami.
"After receiving the information from Tamil Nadu where his main Ashram is located, we will do the needful," state Home Minster V S Acharya said in the Assembly.
The Congress-led opposition has also taken a stiff stand against Nityananda. Demanding his immediate arrest, Opposition leader Siddaramaiah said steps should be taken to locate him and seize his properties and assets.
"He should be booked under non-bailable criminal case and sent to jail at the earliest," he said.
A group of people attacked Nityananda Swami's ashram at Bidadi in Ramanagara district on Wednesday after telecast of the visuals.
There have also been complaints that deer and tiger skins, which are banned by law, are used widely at the ashram.
However, Forest Department officials could not recover any such material during their raid recently.
M. Shreedhar, the swami's advocate, alleged that a regional media group in the state was taking revenge on the swami for not accepting its request to write in its magazines and to deliver talks on its TV channel.
"We will resort to legal recourse," he said. - Bernama
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