Controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda was on Friday sacked by the senior pontiff as his successor of a 1,500-year old Saivaite mutt here,an appointment which had attracted widespread condemnation from various quarters including the Tamil Nadu government.
Nithyananda is facing criminal charges,including rape,in Karnataka where his ashram near Bangalore was recently embroiled in a controversy after a US-based woman and some others alleged sexual exploitation,a charge he has denied.
Sri Arunagirinathar,who had named Nithyananda his successor to the mutt in April last,showed the door to him as pressure mounted from the state government and other Hindu mutts and outfits besides devotees against the appointment.
The move came a day after the state Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department moved a local court seeking removal of Arunagirinathar himself and opposed Nithyanandas appointment holding it violated rules and mutt traditions.
Incidentally,the Madras High Court on Friday reserved orders on a bunch of pleas seeking Nithyanandas removal. Asked why Nithyananda was sacked,Arunagirinathar,who had earlier defended his action,said You know better. I have sought police help because I feel my life is threatened due to the stay of the disciples of Nithyananda. He told the police that he faced threats from Nithyanandas disciples after his sacking.