It’s good to be the Swami
A revered Hindu guru paid £1.4 million to a blackmailer to stop the release of a video of him having sex with a popular Indian film actress, according to detectives investigating the case.
The broadcast of a sex tape showing Swami Nithyananda and Tamil actress Ranjitha last year caused outrage among his followers who rioted near his ashram retreat near Bangalore, Karnataka.
Nithyananda, 32, has built an international following for his ‘Life Bliss’ programme of yoga and meditation with devotees in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Guadeloupe and Singapore.
The programme takes followers through a ‘death experience’ for rebirth into a ‘new life.’ His youthful good looks and charismatic style brought vast wealth to his organisation and personal fame and celebrity, with television appearances throughout India and the world.
But his supporters felt betrayed when the sex tape was broadcast on India’s Sun Television channel, portraying him as ‘impure’.
A police investigation brought further allegations of sexual abuse within his ashram and claims of financial impropriety…
According to detectives, he told them he had had sex with up to 20 of his devotees and had won over many followers by hugging them. He said his success in attracting non-Hindus had caused some resentment.
In a video message to his supporters, Swami Nithyananda said he had been the victim of a smear campaign, but had not done anything illegal.
Nice work if you can get it. If you can afford to pay millions to squash a sex tape.