Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 23:
The Odisha Crime Branch police has collected some photographs of self proclaimed godman Srimad Sarathi Baba alias Santosh Kumar Raula and his controversial young girl companion from the CCTV footage of Golconda Hotel in Hyderabad.
The photographs are of the duo in the reception area of the hotel thus providing clinching evidence of the Baba’s stay at the hotel with his controversial young girl companion.
This information was provided by Crime Branch ADG B K Sharma to the media.
A team of the Crime Branch had visited Hyderabad and examined CCTV footage and other evidence to confirm/ascertain about the Baba’s stay with his girl companion at the Golconda Hotel.
It was the Hyderabad visit in the company of a young medical student (girl companion), which brought Sarathi Baba into media limelight. An expose aired on a local television channel showed the 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 his girl 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 pressurized by four inmates of the Baba’s ashram- Kailash, Kishor, Nandi and Khaga, who had been blackmailing her for four months, to accompany Sarathi Baba.
During questioning by Crime Branch sleuths on August 13, 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 had told the Crime Branch.
The girl later on August 14 recorded her statement before the judicial magistrate Mamata Rani Sahu under Sec 164 of the CrPC revealing the details of her relationship with the Baba and her visit to Hyderabad with him in her deposition.
Queering pitch for the man she had described as her ‘god’ only days ago, the girl on August 15 filed an FIR with the Crime Branch claiming she was forced by him through two of his women associates to file the FIR at Mangalabag police station accusing four persons of blackmailing her.
In her FIR lodged with the Crime Branch police, the girl claimed the Baba, through his women associates, had threatened her with life. He had made an offer of Rs 10 lakh to her to keep her mouth shut and threatened to kill her if she didn’t keep mum and opened her mouth against him.