Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 6:
Sarathi Baba’s one-time close confidante Sarat Patra today called the self-proclaimed Odisha godman a ‘fraud’.
“We had believed that Sarathi was a mahatma (saint). The moment I came to know that he was a fraud should he be worshipped by believers?” asked Patra speaking to reporters here.
“Politicians to ministers all were visiting Sarathi at that time,” revealed Patra.
Patra also questioned the whereabouts of the money collected for building of Sarathi temple.
“Where has the crores of rupees collected for the construction of the temple go? The temple was built with materials contributed by the people. I told Enforcement Directorate officials the names of those who were managing the affairs of the temple then. Only they can tell where the money went. I told ED officials to catch them. I have given the details. Pradip Rout and Surendra Mallick were then managing things they can tell,” said Patra.
“About the Rs 20 lakh spent by Sarathi for media management I have told ED officials that Sarathi’s brother Debendra Raul, who I have learnt is now working for a media house, could have handled that. May be he can better explain about that,” Patra explained.
Patra along with Praveen Raul, nephew of Sarathi was grilled for over five hours by the ED.
It may be mentioned here that Patra who was a close confidante of Sarathi at the time when news broke about his alleged escapades and tricks was the first to defend the godman at a press meet here.
Patra, a school teacher was arrested by Crime Branch on August 28, 2015, on the basis of the statement of a woman victim of Sarathi. He was charged under Sec 420, 506 and 120(b) of the IPC.
He was placed under suspension by the School and Mass Education department on August 13, 2015, on charges of neglecting his duty.
Patra was working as a Mathematics teacher at Mahanga Birbhadreswar High School.