Swami Paramhansa Nityanand: The founder of the Nityanand mission, which claims to have 1,000 branches across 33 countries, has been untraceable since certain Tamil TV channels recently aired a video which allegedly shows him in a compromising position with a Tamil actress. Nityanand, who has ashrams in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Puducherry, hails from Tamil Nadu and has a sprawling ashram in Bidadi, 30 km from Bangalore. He claims to lead a worldwide movement for meditation and peace. Lenin Karuppan, a former disciple, has said that he shot the video to expose the swami. Lenin has alleged that his life has been under threat from the swami, adding that he also suspected foul play behind the death of a woman inmate a year ago. In the complaint filed with Chennai City Police Commissioner T Rajendran, Lenin, who claimed to be an inmate of the ashram in Bangalore since 2006, said the swami used to lure young women devotees claiming that he was the reincarnation of Lord Krishna.
Anup Kumar Sahay: A self-proclaimed godman in Ghaziabad, he was booked on Sunday for abducting his cousin. According to a complaint filed by Subha Srivastava, mother of the victim, the accused along with his brother Ashok Kumar Sahay abducted her daughter Priyanka Srivastava on February 15. The self-proclaimed godman has been booked under sections 363, 313 and 366 of the IPC which pertain to kidnapping and forcing a woman to undergo abortion without her will.
Kripaluji Maharaj: Ram Kripal Tripathi aka Kripaluji Maharaj, at whose ashram near Pratapgarh in UP 63 people died in a stampede last week, was charged with kidnapping and rape in two cases in Nagpur in 1991. He was acquitted after the witnesses turned hostile. He was arrested in 2007 after a Guyanese woman in South Trinidad filed a rape case against him.
Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale: Shiv Murti Dwivedi alias Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale (39), a self-styled godman, was arrested by the Delhi Police last month on charges of operating a high-profile sex racket involving former airhostesses and students.
Asaram Bapu: Two minor boys of the Asaram Ashram-run gurukul in Ahmedabad were found dead in the Sabarmati riverbed two days after they mysteriously went missing from the gurukul in February 2008. The police booked Asaram Bapu in a criminal case pertaining to attempt to murder last year in December on the basis of a complaint filed by Raju Chandak, a former disciple of Asaram. Chandak was shot at by two persons on December 5 and he sustained injuries on his chest and shoulders. Chandak alleged that he was targeted at the behest of Asaram, as he had testified before the D K Trivedi Commission probing into the death of the two boys.
Jayendra Saraswati: The influential Kanchi math Shankaracharya was arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police in Mehboobnagar in Andhra Pradesh in November 2004 in connection with the murder of a former accountant of the math.
Santosh Madhavan: The temple priest-turned-astrologer wanted by the Interpol – was arrested in Alappuzha in May 2008. Apart from a Rs 50 lakh fraud case that has a Dubai-based businesswoman as the complainant, Madhavan, who had turned himself into Swami Amritachaitanya presiding over a posh ashram and flaunting high connections in the state’s political circle and the bureaucracy, was also charged with raping a 15-year-old girl repeatedly.
Premananda: Also known as Trichy Sai Baba, he was awarded life imprisonment in 1994 for two terms on the charges of multiple criminal offences including rape and murder. Premananda, who reportedly had powerful supporters in the AIADMK, had not only raped many of the inmates of his ashram at Trichy but also carried out crude medical terminations of some of the consequent pregnancies with the help of a couple of associates. He was also charged with the murder of an engineer who had opposed the nefarious activities at the ashram.