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Shimla, April 22, 2010: Swami Nithyananda — who faces charges of rape, criminal nithyananda intimidation and cheating and has been absconding for over a month — was on Wednesday arrested along with four others from village Mamleeg in Solan district of Himachal Pradesh.

The Karnataka-based Nithyananda has been on the run since March 23, when the Karnataka High Court rejected his application for anticipatory bail and quashing of criminal cases against him. He was nabbed from the sleepy Mamleeg, which is near Arki town in Solan district, about 50 km from here.

Swami, along with his close associate Gopalsalesh Reddy and three others, was arrested by a Bangalore Police team with assistance from the State police. He would be produced in a local court on Thursday and taken to Karnataka for interrogation.

“Swami Nithyananda was arrested by a joint team of Himachal Pradesh and Bangalore Police from Mamleeg village. He was staying in a house there for the past few days,” said Additional Director General of Police ID Bhandari.

Two of those arrested belong to Delhi. “The Himachal Police got a fax from Karnataka Police on April 17, stating they had information that Nithyananda was hiding in Himachal Pradesh. Subsequently, two DSPs reached Shimla for investigation,” Bhandari said.

“The Karnataka Police came to know of Nityananda’s whereabouts through a mobile call he had made. The accused may be taken back to Karnataka on Thursday morning,” Bhandari added.

“The police have recovered three laptops and eight mobile phones from Swami and his associates. A SIM card, procured in Himachal Pradesh, was also in their possession but it was seldom used,” Bhandari said, adding that Swami also made some international calls.

Rajinder Singh, who headed the Himachal Police team, said Swami’s location was traced with help from a local taxi driver, who had ferried the five to a nearby place some days back.

Swami Nityananda and Reddy never moved out of the rented house, while the other three used to visit the nearby market for buying groceries etc. Moreover, police said, Nityananda did not stop donning his saffron robe.

MS Hussain, a police officer from Karnataka, disclosed that Nityananda and Reddy reached Himachal Pradesh via Haridwar and stayed in the village. The police also recovered $7,000 and Rs 3 lakh from Nityananda and Reddy, who have been booked under Sections 295A, 376, 377, 420, 506 and 120B of the IPC.

After the Karnataka High Court rejected his anticipatory bail plea, Nityananda had quit as head of his ashram, Dhyanapeetam, located about 35 km from Bangalore. Swami has been maintaining that he had done nothing illegal.


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