Odisha Sun Times Bureau,
Cuttack, Aug 14:
A team of Odisha Crime Branch (CB) officials will soon visit Hyderabad to verify details about the stay of controversial spiritual healer Srimad Sarathi alias Sarathi Baba, along with a woman disciple, in a posh hotel there last month, Crime Branch ADG Bijay Kunar Sharma said here today.
“We have got some crucial information about the Baba’s visit to Hyderabad and his stay in a posh hotel there in the first week of July during his interrogation. There is evidence to suggest that the Baba spent about Rs 30, 000 on his stay there. The team, which is likely to leave on Monday, will visit the Golconda Hotel where he stayed and verify hotel records about his stay there,” Sharma said.
The team would also verify the CCTV footage of the period when the Baba stayed there, he added.
It was the Hyderabad visit in the company of a young medical student, which brought Sarathi Baba into media limelight. An expose aired on a local television channel showed th Baba, normally attired in spotless white dhoti and a scarf, in jeans and T-Shirt sporting Rayban sunglasses.
Quoting hotel sources, the report telecast by the channel said the Baba had ordered chicken and scotch during his stay in the hotel in the company of the MBBS student for three nights, which caused outrage among his followers.
The day after the expose, the Baba rubbished the report claiming he had never gone to Hyderabad and the pictures shown on the channel were from an Allahabad hotel where he had gone during the Kumbh.
But the his lady companion nailed the Baba’s lie two days later confirming, in a telephone interview to Kanak TV, that she indeed accompanied the Baba to Hyderabad. She, however, said she had been pressurised by four inmates of the Baba’s ashram, who had been blackmailing her for four months, to accompany Sarathi Baba.
During questioning by Crime Branch sleuths yesterday, Deepak Agarawal, the owner of the travel agency through which the air tickets of the Baba and the girl were booked, also confirmed that he had booked tickets for ‘Mr. S. Sarathi’ and ‘Mrs. R Mallick’.
The tickets for the onward journey were booked on Indigo Airlines for July 3 while the return tickets booked for July 12 were later cancelled, Agarwal told the Crime Branch.
Earlier today, the girl recorded her statement before the judicial magistrate Mamata Rani Sahu under Sec 164 of the CrPC. She has revealed the details of her relationship with the Baba and her visit to Hyderabad with him in her deposition, Crime Branch sources said.