Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 1:
A day after controversial soothsayer Surendranath Mishra aka Sura Baba and his two sons were arrested over wrongdoings in Trahi Achyuta ashram, the Odisha government today handed over the probe to Crime Branch police to investigate into the allegations against the trio.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the controversy surrounding the sprawling ashram to be investigated by the Crime Branch sleuths.
The probe agency would investigate the allegations of sexual exploitation of women, land grab, human sacrifice and money trail among others. Fresh allegation of murder charges cropped up today with a man levelling allegation against Baba’s son of eliminating his brother.
Meanwhile, the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) this afternoon allowed the Commissionerate police to take Sura Baba and his two sons on a three-day remand for further interrogation. The latter had pleaded for a five-day remand.
As the state government has entrusted the Crime Branch to take up the case, the Commissionerate police would hand over the case as and when it receives any formal notification.
“We would begin interrogating the trio from today. We would handover the case to the Crime Branch after we get formal orders,” Twin City Commissioner Dr RP Sharma said.
Talking to the media, Crime Branch ADG BK Sharma said the police have registered four cases against Surendra Mishra and his two sons.
“The Crime Branch has formed four teams for investigation. If necessary, more teams would be formed,” he added.
Earlier, Crime Branch IG Arun Bothra had met the police commissioner after the JMFC court allowed the commissionerate police to take Sura Baba and his two sons on a three-day remand.
The trio was detained by commissionerate police in the wee hours on Monday on the basis of an FIR lodged by an activist Jayanta Kumar Bhoi at the Balipatna police station on Sunday night. They were formally arrested at 10.30 am on Monday after being interrogated by a three-member team led by Bhubaneswar DCP Satyabrata Bhoi for over five hours.
Hours before their arrest, violence broke out at the Trahi Achyuta ashram where irate villagers went on a rampage and burnt scores of four-wheeler and motorbikes besides causing huge damage to property.
The ashram area turned into a fortress with the deployment of police personnel to maintain law and order.
Meanwhile, 13 platoons of police personnel have been deployed at the troubled site and peace committee has been formed. Though the Jhinti Sasan village is largely peaceful, palpable tension prevails in the region.