Godman Sarathi Baba faces heat

Wednesday 19th August 2015 06:17 EDT

Odisha godman Santosh Roul aka Sarathi Baba, arrested by the State Crime Branch police, is now under the Enforcement Directorate's radar for alleged illegal transactions. CB sources said the ED has asked the state investigating agency for the financial and bank account details of Sarathi and Satyam Charitable Trust, run by the baba. The man is currently in a prison in Choudwar near Cuttack, after his CB remand ended.

So far, 33 bank accounts with about Rs 3 crore, have been traced by the agency. Probe is currently on to locate other bank accounts and transactions. The agency has raided several places and questioned his Chartered Accountants. Besides his financial dealings and illegal real-estate purchases, he is also being probed for his alleged sexual activities.

This is just the beginning to a list of controversies associated with the self-styled godman. Recently a Dalit woman had accused him of plotting to kill her by paying a 'supari' of Rs 10 lakh. The MBBS graduate had previously filed an FIR in Cuttack’s Mangalabag police station accusing four people, including an estranged aide of Sarathi, of threatening her. Later, she filed a new FIR with Crime Branch police station, alleging that the godman, through his women associates, threatened to kill her if she spoke out against him. She added that she had been forced by Sarathi’s women associates to file the initial FIR.

Brewing fresh trouble for Roul is another woman's allegations of torture from her husband for refusing to get intimate with the baba. In her FIR at the Nikirai police station in Odisha's Kendrapara district, the woman stated that on the fourth day of their marriage in January this year, her husband took her to Barimula Ashram to get the blessings of Sarathi.

“When we visited him, the Baba gave me a saree and sankhas (bangles). After that my husband went outside leaving me alone inside the room. My husband asked me to stay there for some time. I felt a little awkward when the Baba's associates insisted that I must go inside his chamber to get his blessings,” the woman told media after recording her statement before the sub-divisional judicial magistrate.

“Though I denied to take blessings of the Baba, my husband forced me to go into the godman's chamber and seek his blessings. But I protested and returned home,” she said. The woman alleged that her husband had been torturing her since the incident, stating that her in-laws were also assisting her husband in the matter.

“Though I had made a written complaint in this regard earlier, it was not accepted,” she claimed.

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