The Gujarat High Court on Wednesday directed the Central Government to re-issue a Blue Corner Notice for two young girls who went missing from the controversial self-styled Nithyanand Swami’s ashram in Hathijan in Ahmedabad in November 2018. A Blue Corner Notice had been issued long back against the self-proclaimed godman, who was facing charges of human trafficking and money laundering, among several other things.
The high court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Janardan Sharma from Tamil Nadu, the father of the two young women who are currently reported to be in Jamaica since they disappeared.
Following an application by the Gujarat Police, the court once again issued the Blue Corner Notice to get the girls.
A Blue Corner Notice requires every country to share information about the person allegedly involved in a crime.
The Interpol had already issued a blue corner notice against the self-declared godman who fled India last year amid allegations of rape and sexual abuse.
In March, the court asked the Gujarat Government to instruct the Jamaican government to keep the girls in Jamaica. Following the direction of the Court, a letter written by the State Government to the Jamaican government had been submitted to the High Court.
The Jamaican Government responded by stating that the two young women were accompanied by two nationals. It is suspected that the girls were brought in as part of human trafficking. The letter has been taken seriously by the High Court.
Blue Corner notice against them had been issued in the past. But the girls responded stating that they would appear before the High Court through video conference, based on which the Interpol dropped the notice. But they didn’t appear. The Court questioned the Central Government and IG of the Gujarat Crime Branch, who is the Liaison Officer for Interpol, for dropping the Blue Corner Notice against the girls.
The High Court also observed that their advocate, Pretish Shah had repeatedly informed them via e-mail to appear before the court. But they ignored the Court’s direction. During the hearing, the High Court also asked the Central Government regarding the validity of the passports of these two young women. The Central Government couldn’t produce any details about this.
The advocate of the girls responded stating that their passports are valid till the year 2028. Also, he informed the court that they had hired a lawyer who is a Member of Parliament (MP) of Jamaica. The advocate stressed that he will once again persuade the girls to appear in the High Court through video conferencing.
The court reiterated that for the safety of these young women, they have been given several options to appear before the High Court. Even though they haven’t yet appeared, a further hearing in the case will be held on Thursday.
Earlier when the girls filed an affidavit stating that they were in Jamaica and were not under any kind of pressure from Nithyananda. They did not want to come back to India and were apprehensive of their father subjecting them to physical harm.The court was vehemently against accepting this affidavit and directed to produce the girls in person.