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Swami Claims Sun TV Defamed Him

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (CN) - Sun Network, India's largest cable TV network, is accused of defaming a spiritual guru, Swami Nithyananda, by broadcasting a "morphed video" that claimed the swami was involved in a sex scandal with his followers at an ashram in Karnataka, India.

Nithyananda claims in Superior Court that the news story, broadcast on Sun TV on March 4, 2010, included a "morphed video which was false and defendants Sun TV and Sun Network at all times were fully aware that the news broadcast about the sex scandal was false."

The swami and his co-plaintiff Life Bliss Foundation claim that the Sun TV video was "manipulated and altered by Sun TV and Sun Network, who knew that the allegations were false."

The pro se complaint from the co-plaintiff Nithyananda Foundation claims that a camera was "secretly planted" in Nithyananda's private bedroom at the ashram, without Nithyananda's permission, to "invade his private dwelling and compose the false video."

Nithyananda says Sun TV violated his "right to privacy by broadcasting morphed video which imitated Swami as having [a] sexual scandal ... with the help of technology to portray that Swami was having sexual relationship with his disciples."

He claims the defendants did not have and "did not exercise due diligence in verifying the veracity of the contents therein and published the information with an intent to cause harm to the plaintiff."

Sun TV and Sun Network are known opponents of Nithyananda "and the ashmarites in India due to Sun being managed and controlled by individuals who are opposed to Vedic teachings and mind and body control through yoga and meditation," according to the complaint.

Nithyananda claims the defendants have refused to run a correction since the news story aired, have threatened to continue airing the story, and have "published the defamatory statements on YouTube which continues to be viewed by millions of people."

The report also was seen by millions throughout the United States on Dish Network, Nithyananda says.

The Times of India reported that Nithyananda was arrested on April 21 after the video was broadcast, and was released from jail after 52 days.

Swami Nithyananda and his organizations Life Bliss Foundation, Nithyananda Foundation, and Nithyananda Dhyanapeetam Temple and Cultural Center, seek damages for defamation, and wants the defendants enjoined from republishing the story.

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