Odisha crime branch interrogates godman

Bhubaneswar, Aug 9 (IANS) The Odisha Crime Branch (CB) on Sunday began interrogating controversial godman Sarathi Baba over his alleged financial irregularities and sexual escapades.

The sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM) court, Cuttack, on Saturday allowed the Crime Branch to take Sarathi Baba on three days’ judicial remand. He was arrested on the same day.

The self-styled godman was questioned by Crime Branch sleuths in the presence of his chartered accountant Gitiranjan Mekap over his financial transactions, said Crime Branch sources.

Sources said Baba was quizzed about his allegedly fraudulent possession of land, money collected in the name of Satyam Charitable Trust and his visit to various cities of the country.

The sleuths were verifying files and documents seized during a raid, which, they believe, contained crucial information about the financial transactions of the godman and his ashram.

Sources said a laptop, a computer hard disk and several documents were seized during the raid at Sarathi Baba’s ashram in Kendrapara district.

Meanwhile, the state BJP has decided to stage sit-ins and protest rallies in front of police stations across the state against alleged police excesses on people in the district on Monday.

The BJP has also decided to support the agitation of lawyers’ bodies in the state.

State BJP president K.V. Singhdeo said that the party workers would lodge complaints against transferred Kendrapara Superintendent of Police Satish Gajbhiye and call for the IPS officer’s suspension.

The BJP would also demand handing over the controversial Sarathi Baba’s case to the Central Bureau of Investigation, he added.

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