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Nithyananda allegedly fled India without a passport to save himself from a rape case registered against him in Karnataka.

The government has cancelled passport of controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda and rejected his application for fresh one, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Friday.

“We have cancelled his passport and rejected his application for new one. We have sensitised all our missions and posts that this man is wanted in several cases of crime. We have asked our missions to sensitise the local government,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.

A recent report by news agency Reuters said that Nithyananda announced in a YouTube video that he had set up his own country called Kailaasa, dedicated to the “preservation, restoration and revival of an enlightened culture and civilisation based on authentic Hinduism”.

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Though the exact location of Kailaasa is unknown, Reuters said the island, purchased by some of Nithyananda’s wealthy followers, is situated near Ecuador.

The Ecuadorian government has, however, denied that it has granted asylum to self-styled Indian godman Nithyananda, wanted in India for alleged rape and abduction, or helped him purchase any land in the South American country.

“The Embassy of Ecuador categorically denies the statement, wherever published, that self-styled Guru Nithyananda was given asylum by Ecuador or has been helped by the government of Ecuador in purchasing any land or island in South America near or far from Ecuador. Moreover, Ecuador denied the request for international personal protection (refuge) made by Mr. Nithyananda before Ecuador and later on, Mr. Nithyananda left Ecuador presumably on his way to Haiti,” the Embassy of Ecuador said in a statement.

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Nithyananda had allegedly fled India without a passport to save himself from a rape case registered against him in Karnataka.

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.

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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.