Controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda, accused of kidnapping and wrongly confining children in his ashram in Ahmedabad, has fled the country, the Press Trust of India quoted officials as saying on Thursday.
An FIR was registered on Wednesday against Nithyananda over allegations that he kidnapped children and held them in his ashram to make them collect donations from followers at his ashram Yogini Sarvagyapeetham.
Amid reports that Nithyananda is in Trinidad and Tobago, the Ministry of External Affairs denied any information or any request for his extradition.
"We have no formal information, neither from the Gujarat police nor the Home Ministry. Also, for any extradition request, we need the location and nationality details of the person. We don't have such info about him yet," said the foreign ministry spokesperson.
Nithyananda is indeed abroad, a police officer in Ahmedabad, RV Asari, was quoted as telling PTI. If required, the Gujarat police will seek his custody through proper channels, he said.
Nithyananda has fled the country after a rape case was registered against him in Karnataka, and it will be a waste of time searching for him here, the police said.
"If required, we will go through proper channels to seek his custody from abroad. We will definitely arrest him if he comes back to India," said the officer.
Two of Nithyananda's disciples, Pranpriya and Priyatatva, were arrested on Tuesday on kidnapping, illegal confinement and assault charges. They were sent to five days custody and are being questioned by the police.
They were arrested after two children of 9 or 10 years found at the ashram told the police they were tortured, forced to work and kept in illegal confinement at a flat in the city for over 10 days.
Similar allegations were made by two other children rescued from the ashram after a complaint filed by their parents, the police said.
Another police officer, KT Kamariya, said the police are also investigating the case of a woman missing from Nithyananda's ashram after a complaint was by her father.
Gujarat Home Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja told reporters that nobody involved in the case would be spared.
Nithyananda, a high profile figure, is often seen accepting expensive "offerings" in gold and jewellery from "devotees". An accused in a rape case in Karnataka, Nithyananda has often drawn attention because of his gimmicky appearance and conduct.
The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday had issued notices to the self-proclaimed godman and the state government on the petition of a man who alleged that his two daughters had been held captive by the so-called guru.
With inputs from PTI