Controversial Odisha godman held

The Crime Branch of the Odisha Police on Saturday arrested controversial self-styled godman Santosh Roul alias Baba Sarathi from his ashram near Kendrapara town in coastal Kendrapara district.

The arrest came after nearly 14 hours of interrogation and an all-night search of Sarathi's ashram by Crime Branch sleuths.

The Crime Branch had seized sizeable quantities of gold and silver, cash, important papers and documents, besides two swords while searching Sarathi's ashram, spread over almost four acres of land. Efforts are on to freeze all his bank accounts.
Sarathi had been in the news for the past few days after some photos, showing him and one of his young woman disciples — a medicine student — reportedly staying at a Hyderabad hotel, appeared in the local media.

Tension had gripped different parts of the state, particularly in the coastal Kendrapara and adjoining districts, for the past few days, with the locals demanding Sarathi's immediate arrest and sealing of his ashram.

Clashes between agitators and the police had also been reported from Kendrapara.
The controversy had led the state government to order a Crime Branch probe into Sarathi's activities.

Additional Director General  of Police, Crime Branch, B K Sharma said his office would seek in court Sarathi's remand for five days for further interrogation.

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