The broadcast of a sex tape showing Swami Nithyananda and Tamil actress Ranjitha last year caused outrage among his followers who rioted near his ashram retreat near Bangalore, Karnataka.
Nithyananda, 32, has built an international following for his 'Life Bliss' programme of yoga and meditation with devotees in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Guadeloupe and Singapore.
The programme takes followers through a 'death experience' for rebirth into a 'new life.' His youthful good looks and charismatic style brought vast wealth to his organisation and personal fame and celebrity, with television appearances throughout India and the world.
But his supporters felt betrayed when the sex tape was broadcast on India's Sun Television channel, portraying him as 'impure'...
...A police investigation brought further allegations of sexual abuse within his ashram and claims of financial impropriety.
According to the Midday newspaper, Nithyananda told detectives he was approached by a journalist last year who told him he had video footage of him with the film actress and threatened to release it to the media if he did not pay him more than £3.5 million. He told detectives the demand was reduced to £1.4 million in negotiations and that the money was paid by one of his followers.
According to detectives, he told them he had had sex with up to 20 of his devotees and had won over many followers by hugging them. He said his success in attracting non-Hindus had caused some resentment.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Hindu guru in India paid blackmailer £1.4 million over sex video
The U.S.A. has had its televangelist scandals, and India has a scandal with a Hindu guru. As reported by Dean Nelson of the Daily Telegraph on January 5, 2011: