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Police interrogate ‘godman’, examine his laptop, files


Bhubaneswar: A day after arresting controversial ‘godman’ Sarathi Baba on the charge of cheating and other offences, the crime branch of the Odisha police today started interrogating him after taking him on a 3-day remand.

A court had yesterday rejected the bail plea of Sarathi alias Santosh Kumar Roul and allowed the crime branch to take the Baba on remand for three days from today for interrogation.

Marathon grilling of the self-styled godman continued since this afternoon at the crime branch headquarter in Cuttack, a senior police officer said.

Besides scrutinising a number of files and documents, the sleuths examined a laptop and a computer hard disk seized from Sarathi’s premises at Kendrapara in a bid to gather information about financial transactions of the person, the sources said.

The seized laptop of Sarathi’s chartered accountant was also being examined.

The focus of interrogation was the godman’s alleged fraudulent possession of land, money collected in the name of a charitable trust, his visit to Hyderabad, Kolkata and involvement in criminal activities, they said.

A case has been registered against him at CID police station under different section of the IPC, SC-ST Atrocities (prevention) Act, Arms Act and under provisions of Misuse of Religious Institutions Act, according to Additional Director General (ADG) of Crime Branch B K Sharma.

The crime branch seized 10 kg of silver, 55 kg of metal lockets bearing the godman’s picture, two swords, CDs containing his publicity materials, bank and land documents, police said.

The self-styled ‘godman’ has been at the centre of a controversy for over a week after a TV channel showed pictures alleging that he had spent two days with a woman, who posed as his wife, at a Hyderabad hotel.

The preliminary statement of the 24-year-old woman, who allegedly spent time with the Baba at a star hotel in Hyderabad has been recorded by the inspector-in-charge of Mahila Police station in Cuttack.

Kendrapara town, which witnessed protests by people against the Baba and pitched battle between protestors and the police two days ago, returned to normalcy yesterday after the arrest of Sarathi and transfer of the superintendent of police Satish Kumar Gajviye following complaints of alleged excesses.

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