MEA official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Friday rubbished the notion that rape accused self-styled godman Nithyananda had created his own sovereign nation. Kumar contended that setting up a website is very different from creating a nation. Moreover, he revealed that the self-styled godman’s passport had been cancelled well before the expiry period due to the cases against him. He also mentioned that Indian missions abroad had sensitised the foreign governments to inform India if he was in their country.
The MEA official spokesperson said, “There are two aspects to the question. One is about an individual declaring a state or a nation. Setting up a website is very different from creating a nation. He has opened a website, and said that this is his nation. So I don’t think that I should really answer that question.”
He added, “Coming to the other aspect I can say that we have handled such cases in the past, that the MEA, we have a certain role to play. And that role could involve two different fronts. The first could be related to the passport. The second relates to the extradition part. When we got information about the cases pending against him, we cancelled his passport. He had applied for a fresh passport which was put on hold simply because he could not get requisite clearance from the police. Coming to the extradition part, we have sensitised all our missions and posts that this man is wanted in several cases of crime in India and we have asked our missions and posts to sensitise the local government that in case he happens to transit or be in that country, they should let us know.”
Kumar made it clear that no extradition proceedings had been initiated against the self-styled godman. He declined to talk about his whereabouts while denying the speculations that he was in Ecuador. Furthermore, he said that he did not have the information about the exact time when Nithyananda's passport was cancelled.
Kumar remarked, “We can only act on the inputs which we receive from different agencies. We have not received such a request. So, we can only take action once that comes to us.” He added, “On his whereabouts, it is very difficult for us to speculate. In previous cases there had been speculations about the location of the fugitives as well. It is not for the MEA to go into that kind of an investigation and try to find him. But through our missions and posts abroad and through the local government, we have told them that in case there is any information, they should inform us. But so far, we are yet to get any. We never said that he is in Ecuador. His passport was issued way back in October 2008 which had a validity of 10 years. It was cancelled much before that. He applied for fresh passport after the cancellation.”