Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Konark (Puri), Aug 23:
Even as the Odisha Crime Branch police is investigating the Sarathi Baba’s dubious land deals, there is fresh allegation of land grabbing against another fake Baba at Darshanibanta area of Kurujanga panchayat under Konark police station limits in Puri district.
This fake Baba, locally known as Kalki Baba, has admitted to grabbing about 10 acres of forest land the value of which would be around Rs one crore.
Following a report published in Sambad, Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal said appropriate action would be taken upon receipt of probe report.
As per available information, the Kalki ashram has come up at Darshanibanta situated at a higher plane near Balidokana on Konark-Kakatpur road.
Darshanibanta where the Kalki Ashram has come up was earlier known as Balibanta. As this place is situated at a much higher plane, people of this area used to have the darshan of the Patitapabana flag of Shrimandir in Puri. Due to the darshan of the Lords’ flag, the area later came to be known as Darshanibanta.
In 1992, an ashram was built at Darshanibanta by Banambara Maharana of Godhanapada village. As the ashram was situated inside the forest area, few people used to visit the ashram. But things changed dramatically as rumours went thick and fast about the Baba doing without food except half a litre of milk a day.
With the rush of people to the ashram, its area was gradually extended from 10 acres to 20 acres and Banambara came to be known as Kalki Baba.
With the influence of Banambara growing on each day, he gradually went onto grab the land of the villagers who lodged a complaint with the police. The case is now sub judice.
Apart from grabbing village land, Kalki Baba has also grabbed 10 acres of forest land. As informed by Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Prashant Kumar Swain, the Forest department has registered seven cases against Kalki Baba for illegal possession of forest land between 2009-10 and 2014-15.
When asked how he could arrange huge money for construction of his ashram building, the Kalki Baba said he has received donation of Rs 5 lakh from BJD MP Baijayant Panda of which Rs 3 lakh has been used in the construction of a community centre while Rs 2 lakh has been used in the construction of the road to the ashram. Besides, former MLA Sura Nayak has sanctioned Rs 25,000, which was used in the construction of yagna mandap inside the ashram, the Baba said.
He also said former block chairman Bipin Mohanty had also sanctioned money for construction of road.
However, Baijayant Panda has denied the statement of Baba on sanction of MPLAD fund. As the MP of Kendrapara, I am not authorised to donate any money from MPLAD fund in other constituency.
“May be the Baba has mistakenly taken my name in place of former Jagatsighnpur MP Brahmananda Panda,”Panda said in a statement.
According to the villagers, apart from Baijayant Panda and Sura Nayak, other political leaders like Brahmananda Panda, Bibhu Tarai and Rabi Mallick used to visit the ashram.
In the meanwhile, the criminal activity of the Kalki Baba has come to the fore following a complaint by Debendra Sutar, editor of Hetubadi Sambad at Markatnagar police station in Cuttack on Saturday.
In his complaint, Sutar said he had received a mobile phone call at 10.23 AM from a man identifying himself as Suresh Panda who warned him not to interfere in the affairs of Kalki Baba.
“The man asked me why I have filed PIL against the Babas, why I am speaking against them in the TV news channels and why I submitted a memorandum to the Director General of Police against the Bishnu Baba of Jagatsinghpur. He also asked me to explain why Sarathi Baba is branded as the Bhanda (fake) Baba. He warned me to refrain from these activities or else I will meet the fate of Narendra Dabholkar, a rationalist and anti-superstition movement activist who was shot dead in Pune on August 20, 2013,” Sutar said in his complaint.
In another incident, three media persons were seriously injured after they were attacked by followers of Kalki Baba on Saturday afternoon.
Sources said a group of media persons had gone to the ashram of Kalki Baba to collect reports in the afternoon when they were chased and attacked by some followers of the Baba in which three media persons from Konark—Pratap Kandi, Bhagirathi Swain and Jyotiraj Mohanty— were seriously injured.
Condemning the incident, Konark Press Club and Gop Press Club have demanded stern action against the culprits.
On the other hand, some followers of Kalki Baba have lodged a complaint against the journalists at Konark police station.