New Delhi: The government has cancelled the passport of controversial godman Nithyananda and has rejected his application for fresh one, the External Affairs Ministry said on Friday.
Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the ministry has sensitised all its missions and posts abroad about Nithyananda. "We have sensitised all our missions and posts and told them to inform local governments about him," he said at the ministry's weekly press briefing here.
Nithyananda had allegedly fled India without a passport to save himself from a rape case registered against him in Karnataka. He is wanted in India for multiple cases of rape and abduction.
Kumar said Nithyananda's passport was cancelled before its validity was to expire in 2018 and that his application for a new one was also rejected because of the cases pending against him.
Asked about reports that Nithyananda declaring founding his own country called 'Kailassa' on his website, Kumar said, "Setting up a website is different from setting up a nation."
Earlier on Friday, the Ecuadorian government denied that it has granted asylum to Nithyananda or helped him purchase any land in the South American country. Ecuador's statement came a few days after Nithyananda announced the creation of Kailaasa, a "Hindu homeland", on an island purchased from the country.
The Embassy of Ecuador said the country had, in fact, denied Nithyananda's request for asylum, and he had left the country for Haiti.
"All the information, whatever, which is published in digital and print media in India, is based on the information which allegedly has been sourced from https://kailaasa.org, a website which is supposedly maintained by Nithyananda or by his people," it said. "Henceforth, all digital or print media houses should refrain from citing Ecuador in any form in all pieces of information related to Nithyananda."
Nithyananda's real name is Rajashekharan and he is a native of Tamil Nadu. He opened an ashram near Bengaluru in the early 2000s. His teachings were said to be based on those of Osho Rajneesh.
In 2010 a video of him in a compromising position with an actress emerged online and he was later arrested on charges of rape. He was also arrested and charge-sheeted in a separate case of rape later.
According to reports, Nithyananda is now being investigated by French authorities for alleged fraud worth $400,000.
Last month, an FIR was registered against Nithyananda after two girls went missing from his ashram in Ahmedabad - Yogini Sarvagyapeetham. He was charged with kidnapping and wrongful confinement of children to make them collect donations from followers to run his ashram.
(With inputs from PTI)