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Media Malice Sham

Pay or we will make you look like Nithyananda

Hyderabad, June 1: The pontiff of the Visakhapatnam-based Sarada Peetam, Swami Swaroopnanda, on Tuesday filed a complaint against Telugu channel NTV, alleging that its CEO and two marketing executives tried to extort Rs 1 crore from him.

The Banjara Hills police registered a case of extortion and threatening against the NTV CEO, Mr Rajasekhar, and two marketing executives, Mr Srikanth and Mr Ramana. Swami Swaroopananda also met the DGP, Mr R.R. Girish Kumar, on Tuesday and asked him to speed up the investigation.

“NTV has threatened me and demanded Rs 1 crore as bribe. They threatened that they will make me look like Nityananda, if I don’t pay. They made wild allegations about me. I am ready for any probe,” he said.

He also filed a complaint with the State Human Rights Commission. The SHRC issued orders to the commissioner of police, Mr A.K. Khan, to file a detailed report by June 10. The West Zone deputy commissioner of police, Mr Stephen Ravindra, said a case of extortion has been registered and action will be taken based on it.

The AP Brahmana Sangham vice president, Mr D. Ravi Kumar, who accompanied the swami to the DGP’s office, said that the swami used to give religious discourses on the Bhakti channel owned by NTV. “This was free of cost. However, it seems the channel was running into losses. So the management asked the swami to pay Rs 50 lakh or Rs 1 crore. The swami refused saying that he doesn’t want paid programmes. This was going on for the last 48 days. However, NTV marketing executive, Mr Srikanth, and another person began to threaten the swami. They made phone calls and even Mr Rajasekhar made a call threatening to make him another Nityananda if he doesn’t give the money. The swami recorded the telephone conversations. We have approached another TV channel, ABN Andhrajyothi, which exposed NTV,” he said.

The two channels were airing reports on each other. The NTV management was not available for comment.