BHUBANESWAR: After dodging the investigators for the last 48 hours, self-styled foreteller Surendra Mishra and his two sons today found themselves in the dock with the Crime Branch of Odisha Police stumbling upon huge volumes of cash stashed away at various places of Achyuta Ashram on Thursday.
Multiple teams of the CB swept through the ashram premises where they found cash in the office chambers. Wads of currencies, in the denominations of Rs 1000, Rs 500 and Rs 100, were found from iron chests, lockers and boxes kept in an office located behind the room the so-called manuscript of Saint Achyutananda is stated to have been kept. One box is stated to have contained more than Rs 20 lakh.
While a team was busy counting the seized cash, the CB found at least seven accounts in the Achyuta Nagar branch of State Bank of India (SBI) where a whopping Rs 2.4 crore was parked. The accounts were in the name of Surendra, his wife, two sons, two daughters-in-law and Sri Sri Mahaprabhu Achyutananda Trust.
Earlier, Commissionerate Police had detected an account where over Rs 66 lakh was deposited but today’s discovery of huge volumes of unaccounted cash would give solid ground to the CB to pin down Mishra and his sons. Sources said, the funds parked in the bank accounts will bring into picture financial transactions of Mishra and the Trust as well as their Income Tax returns.
Hoever, it is the cash found from the ashram could pose serious problem for the father-son trio. “Keeping such a huge volume of cash in the ashram while Mishra had a whole bank branch at a stone’s throwaway distance with several accounts raises suspicion about the transactions. We now have enough materials to confront him and his sons during the interrogation,” Additional Director General, CB BK Sharma said. The trio are on a three-day remand and Thursday was day two.
The SBI accounts are only one of the handful that CB has come across though. There are several accounts in multiple banks across Bhubaneswar which the probe agency has already traced and will investigate in next few days. Possibility of more funds can not be ruled out.
Earlier in the day, the CB sent in three teams to Jhinti to carry out search. While one team went through the accounts at the SBI branch, another rummaged through the ashram looking to collect documentary evidence. Another team recorded the statement of the former woman follower who had lodged a complaint of sexual assault.
Meanwhile, in a separate case, the bail application of Santosh Raula, alias Sarathi Baba, will be heard by the Cuttack District Judge Court on Friday.