Indian Guru Resigns Amid Sex Tape Probe
A popular Indian guru who claims a global following of two million devotees resigned Tuesday as head of his religious organization after he became the focus of a police obscenity probe.
Paramhamsa Nityananda was under investigation since television stations earlier this month aired video footage purportedly showing the 32-year-old fondling two unidentified women in bed.
His Dhyanapeetam ashram insisted the footage was faked, but in a video statement on its website, Nityananda said he felt an obligation to step down as the ashram's spiritual leader.
"I am resigning as the head of the Dhyanapeetam and from all the trusts associated with it," he said, adding that he would "live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time."
Nityananda has a large following in southern India -- where his ashram is based near the city of Bangalore, southern India -- and has 26 other ashrams dotted around the world.
"If required I will return and talk about all that had happened as an independent witness to my conduct with a clean heart and pure soul, and also in a less prejudiced atmosphere," he said.
He ended his statement by exhorting his followers to "be blissful."
Angered by the video footage, local villagers attacked Nityananda's ashram on March 3, forcing police to give it special protection.
The guru's followers insist the video was faked by a jealous occupant of the ashram in an effort to defame him.