Controversial self-styled Godman Sarathi Baba was arrested today by Odisha Police's Crime Branch for his alleged involvement in a sexual escapade as well as cases related to cheating and forgery.
The arrest came after nearly 14 hours of intense grilling at his ashram at Barimula in Kendrapara district and later at Crime Branch headquarters at Cuttack.
Crime Branch ADG BK Sharma confirmed his arrest on Saturday afternoon. He was produced in a court today, which has remanded him to a three day custody for further investigation.
The self-styled Godman has been at the centre of a controversy after a TV channel showed pictures alleging that he had spent two days with a woman, who posed as his wife, at a Hyderabad hotel. Sarathi, however, denied the charge and threatened to take legal action against the TV channel.
Sarathi has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including 420 (cheating), 120 (B) criminal conspiracy and 341 (wrongful restraint) as well under the Arms Act and SC/ST Act.
A Crime Branch team, which reached Sarathi's ashram on Friday, questioned the Godman and conducted a thorough search of the sprawling premises, police said. Some documents, cash, silver, gold and metal coins with his photo engraved were recovered during search, the police added.
The Crime Branch officers also came across some bank accounts, photographs and CCTV footage during the operation and these were being examined, the police said.
Protests against Sarathi rocked Kendrapara town on Friday with people involved in pitched battles with the police. While prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrCP were clamped in the area, SP Satish Gajbhiye was shifted from Kendrapara and Nitinjit Singh replaced him.