Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 3:
The book which turned the fortunes of an ordinary village priest to a most sought-after fortune-teller in Odisha has reportedly been retrieved by the Crime Branch police today.
However, it is yet to be verified whether the pothi recovered by Crime Branch was the much talked-about Sunya pothi (Padma Kalpa Malika).
Crime Branch sleuths retrieved a bunch of pothi (palm leaf manuscripts which foretell the future of seekers) stored in wooden boxes and three iron chests from a room in the Trahi Achyuta ashram on the outskirts of the capital city. Besides, cash amounting to nearly Rs 25 lakh has been seized from the same room called as pothi gruha.
Four teams headed by Crime Branch IG Arun Bothra and Additional SP Ravindra Kumar raided the ashram at Jhinti Sasam under Balakati police station limits today. The probe team would continue the search operation through the night, sources added.
The trio—controversial godman Sura Baba alias Surendranath Mishra and his two sons—Trilochan and Biranchi Narayan—are presently on a three-day remand with the Crime Branch which ends tomorrow.
The self-styled godman was arrested early on Monday morning on the basis of an FIR filed by an activist accusing him of getting Dalits protesting against him beaten up by his goons.
In the time since then, serious and credible allegations of wrongdoing, including sexual exploitation of women inmates, land grab, illegal accumulation of wealth and possession of firearms, have been levelled against the soothsayer.