Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 20:
Apparently encouraged by the revenue earned by spiritual television channels, the now infamous religious preacher—Santosh Roul alias Srimad Sarathi Dev—was all set to venture into broadcasting business in Odisha.
Sarathi Baba’s son Satyam Sekhar Roul was looking after the production house– Srimad Sarathi Productions—as well as preparing the blueprint for launching their television channel. The offices were running from the Shree Vihar residence here under the supervision of Satyam.
Satyam, who is now in the clutches of Crime Branch police, had collaborated with an Ollywood music director couple to launch a devotional channel. Since last eight months, they had been working towards it. The husband-wife musician team was credited Rs 30 lakh in two instalments and some valuables for the purpose.
To get maximum mileage out of television, Sarathi Baba appeared on television to reach out to the wider audience and influence the gullible viewers. For this, he had booked an hour-long slot in ‘Prarthana’, a leadijng regional devotional channel, in 2013. The beleaguered spiritual guru was propagating religious discourses as well as promoting the products of his production house.
Sources said on condition of anonymity that Sarathi had almost decided to break his ties with Prarthana and set up his own unit for which he had got an offer from a newly-floated television channel for an alliance. However, Sarathi Baba had turned down the offer and begun groundwork to launch a devotional channel under his brand name.
While it was being said that Srimad Sarathi Production was running with a model similar to crowdfunding, Sarathi was operating from Barimula ashram in Kendrapara with Satyam as his face in the industry.
The controversial godman had produced three devotional music and video albums—Jeevan Rath, Prabhu Sarathi O Janma Ru Mrutyu Sathi Sarathi and Sarathi Vani—under the banner of Srimad Sarathi Productions.
Besides, it is said that Sarathi had invested in two Ollywood movies—Bachelor and Premika—and an opera house was also running under Sarathi’s banner.
Sources revealed that Sarathi had invested around Rs 3 crore in the entertainment business segment.
Leading lights of Ollywood industry—actor turned politicians Anubhab Mohanty and Siddhant Mohapatra, Ashrumochan Mohanty, Hara Patnaik, Mihir Das, Raimohan Parida and Bobby Mishra – are among those who featured in the video albums produced by this production house.
As Satyam was managing the business here, he had easy access to the artists of filmdom. Some of the pictures posted on social media platforms speak volumes about his proximity with the cine stars of the regional industry. Satyam led a lavish lifestyle in the capital city in the midst of the who’s who of the entertainment industry.
A day after the arrest of Sarathi Baba amid hue and cry over his visit to Hyderabad in the company of a woman medico, Satyam went missing till Crime Branch sleuths traced and nabbed him from Borivili in the Mumbai suburbs on Wednesday.
Before disappearing, he had dumped his SUV at the parking lot of a private hospital in the city. Meanwhile, the cops are on the lookout for the driver of Satyam, Ashok, who was attached to his boss like a shadow since over 10 years. His arrest would be crucial in the investigation, sources said.