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Crime Branch begins quizzing Sarathi Baba

--Sarathi Baba in scandal

Bhubaneswar, August 9: Crime Branch sleuths on Sunday started interrogation of the self-styled godman Srimad Sarathi at the CB headquarters in Cuttack to extract truth from him about the ‘scandal’.

The CB has taken Sarathi on a three-day remand starting Sunday.

A team of CB sleuths started grilling of the controversial spiritual leader at around 1 pm and which continued till late evening.

Source maintained that the 48-year-old man is being questioned in the presence of his chartered accountant Gitiranjan Mekap. The Crime Branch team raided the house of Mekap late on Saturday night in Kendrapara and seized a laptop, a computer hard disk and several documents of the Baba.

Crime Branch ADG BK Sharma had informed that the interrogation would mainly focus on the financial transactions of Satyam Charitable Trust, formed by Sarathi Baba and alleged fraudulent possession of land, money collected in the name of Satyam Charitable Trust, his visit to Hyderabad, Jeypore and Kolkata and his involvement in criminal activities.

Earlier in the day, the CB team brought Sarathi Baba alias Santosh Raul from the Choudwar Circle Jail amid tight security at 12 noon and entered the CB headquarters from its backside to avoid public outrage.

As per norm, Baba stated to be a diabetic patient was taken to the SCB Medical College and Hospital for the mandatory medical check-up, sources added.

On Friday, the Crime Branch, probing the Sarathi Baba scandal, seized Rs 2.28 lakh in cash, 15 kg silver, 50 gram gold, around 55 kg of metallic coins with embossed picture of the accused on them. Besides, property documents and two swords were also found by the probe team. 

The Baba has been booked under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 471, 341, 379 and 506 of IPC and Section 25 of the Arms Act and Section 7 of Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act of 1988. The police have also slapped Section 3 of SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 on Raul for allegedly insulting a Scheduled Caste person in the name of his caste in May this year. 

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