The District Education Officer (DEO) Ahmedabad Rural, Rakesh Vyas, spoke to the Republic TV on Thursday and stated that "Nithyananda's Ashram property is leased and not rented." He further said that "The Ashram is an illegal property since we haven't got any approval from the concerned authority."
Petitioner Janardana Sharma and his wife have alleged that his daughters have been illegally confined at an ashram of self-styled godman Nithyananda. The couple had admitted their three daughters, aged 7 to 15, to an educational institution run by Swami Nithyananda in Bengaluru in 2013. However, they later learned that their daughters were shifted to another branch of Nithyananda Dhyanpeetham this year, named Yogini Sarvagyapeetham, situated on the premises of Delhi Public School (DPS) in Ahmedabad.
According to the DEO, "The DPS has provided a lease for the Ashram in their premises. They had given the lease bid for Rs 1 token. In whichever documents we have received, the tenure of the lease hasn't been mentioned." He further said, "I am not satisfied with the documents they have provided us until now. Since we haven't got any approval from the concerned authority, the Ashram is illegal. Currently, we are asking the DPS for the documents. However, they have failed to provide relevant documents in this matter." Further, through an investigation, it was revealed that one of the DPS management persons happens to be a devotee of the self-styled godman Nithyananda.
The father of the three girls who were allegedly held hostage in a bungalow next to the Ahmedabad Ashram, Janardana Sharma, spoke to Republic TV on Wednesday. He said, ‘"Between September and October, our daughters called us thrice from different numbers. They asked us to take them away from the ashram. My second daughter called me and cried: "Appa, bacchao idhar se" (Dad, help me from here)." He further said, "That is when I understood the seriousness. Till then I was also associated with the "so-called" godman in the same organisation but in a different place."
On Wednesday, two followers of Nithyananda who are the managers of the Yogini Sarvajnapeetham Ashram in Hirapur, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad were arrested even as the police continue looking for Nithyananda. The court has remanded them for five days, as per the victim's lawyer. Nithyanand remains missing.