CHENNAI: Controversial godman Swami Nithyananda on Thursday told the CB-CID that he was blackmailed by a former devotee and two of his associates for Rs 100 crore for a video allegedly showing him being intimate with actress Ranjita.
The tainted godman was answering the summons issued by the CB-CID in a case registered by the Pondy Bazaar police on a complaint lodged by members of the Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam with the city police commissioner on July 13. They had alleged that they were threatened, assaulted and that money was extorted from them by representatives of media houses that brought out the video.The plaint named Lenin and Aarthi Rao, who allegedly produced the video, Sridhar, an advocate, Nakkeeran editor Gopal, its associate editor Kamaraj, Sun Network chief operating officer Hansraj Saxena and his aide Iyappan as among those who threatened and ordered assaults on the ashram representatives. The case was later transferred to CB-CID.Accompanied by ashram secretary Sadananda and other inmates, Nithyananda arrived at the CB-CID office in Guindy Industrial Estate around 3 pm on Thursday. “We questioned him as a witness in the case and recorded his statement,” a senior police official told Express. Grilled at length about the manner in which the extortion demands were made, the godman told the sleuths that his former devotee Lenin Karuppan, his brother Kumar and Sridhar, an advocate, initially demanded Rs 100 crore for the sex video. After much bargaining, they scaled down to Rs 60 crore. It was only when the trio realised that they would not be able to extort even that amount from him on their own that they roped in representatives of powerful media houses, he alleged.Asked whether the CB-CID would ascertain if the video was genuine or fake, the officer said the Karnataka police was dealing with that aspect of the case. “We are mainly looking into the allegations of extortion and assault made by the ashram members against some persons in their complaint,” the officer said. In the next few days, other ashram members, including actor Ranjita, are expected to be questioned by CB-CID.