Interpol blue notice against Nithyananda

Jan 22, 2020 11:58 PM IST

New Delhi: Global law enforcement organisation Interpol has issued a blue notice based on a Gujarat police request to locate self-styled guru Nithyananda, who has been on the run after being accused of rape, people familiar with the development said.

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HT Image

A blue notice, unlike a red notice, does not require police in foreign countries to arrest the subject. According to the Interpol’s classification, a blue notice is issued to collect information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime. The information is not placed in the public domain.

“The Interpol issued the blue notice against the controversial godman this month,” said a Gujarat police officer on condition of anonymity. The Gujarat police will now seek a red notice.

Red notices are requests issued to Interpol’s 194 member states worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest fugitives wanted either for prosecution or to serve a sentence.

Interpol publishes red notices at the request of a member country. They must comply with Interpol’s Constitution and rules. A red notice is an international wanted person notice, but not an arrest warrant, and Interpol cannot compel any country to arrest someone, according to the Interpol website. In 2018, Interpol issued 13,516 red notices.

Nithyananda is believed to have travelled to Nepal before heading to an undisclosed destination last year even as his passport had been cancelled.

The external affairs ministry has said Nithyananda’s passport issued in 2008 was cancelled in September 2018. Nithyananda applied for a fresh passport, but he was denied police clearance.

A fresh case was registered against Nithyananda in November 2019 after two girls went missing from his ashram in Ahmedabad.

The Gujarat police have said he had fled the country as authorities were gathering evidence against him after two of his disciples were arrested.

Nithyananda, who has a pending rape case in Karnataka, was booked on charges of kidnapping and illegally confining children.

The government last month dismissed reports that Nithyananda had created his own country on an island near Ecuador and said India had alerted other nations, where he might seek shelter as he is wanted for several crimes.

This came after reports citing a website purportedly linked to the guru said he had established the “Hindu nation” of Kailaasa in South America.

Ecuador also denied reports last month that it had granted asylum to Nithyananda and was helping him in purchase an island in South America.

Nithyananda is alleged to have built an empire over the last two decades across continents.

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