BHUBANESWAR: Controversial self-styled 'godman' Srimad Sarathi Dev was today arrested by Odisha police and sent to jail on charge of cheating and dishonesty following a state-wide hue and cry over his alleged escapades.
Sarathi, alias Santosh Kumar Roul, was arrested in the morning and produced before Cuttack sub-divisional judicial magistrate B Goutam who rejected his bail plea.
The court allowed the crime branch to take the controversial godman on remand for three days from tomorrow.
Roul, popularly known as Sarathi Baba was taken into custody after over 10 hours of grilling at his ashram in Kendrapara district, police said.
He was taken to the police headquarters in Cuttack in the early hours today and produced in SDJM court in the evening.
"We have arrested Santosh Kumar Roul alias Sarathi Baba from his ashram. A case has been registered against him at CID police station under different section of the IPC, SC-ST Atrocities Act, Arms Act and under provisions of Misuse of Religious Institutions Act," Additional Director General (ADG) of Crime Branch B K Sharma told reporters in Cuttack.
The crime branch seized 10 kg of silver, 55 kg of metal lockets bearing the godman's picture, two swords, CDs containing his publicity materials, bank and land documents, Sharma said.
The self-styled 'godman' has been at the centre of a controversy for about a week 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.
Meanwhile, the preliminary statement of the 24-year-old woman, who allegedly spent time with the Baba at a star hotel in Hyderabad has been recorded by the inspector-in-charge of Mahila Police station in Cuttack.
In her FIR, she expressed fear of threat to her life as she claimed four persons were targeting her.
Commissionerate of police, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack have provided security to the woman, who is staying at a ladies hostel in Cuttack.
The case lodged by the woman was handed over to the Crime Branch, said commissioner of police R P Sharma.
Kendrapara town, which witnessed protests by people against the self styled godman and pitched battle between protestors and police yesterday, returned to normalcy today after the arrest of Sarathi Baba and transfer of the superintendent of police Satish Kumar Gajviye following complaints of alleged excesses.
The prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr PC in the coastal town was withdrawn.
'Sarathi Ashram', the godman's residence is at Barimula village, a few km from Kendrapara town.
Protests had broken out in the town and other parts of the state after reports surfaced about alleged misdeeds of the self-styled 'godman'. While people hit the streets demanding arrest of Sarathi Baba, police yesterday fought a pitched battle with them leading to escalation of tension in Kendrapara.
Subsequently, the state government posted Nitinjit Singh as the new police chief in Kendrapara after transferring Gajviey, whose arrest has been sought by the political parties.
Opposition Congress has demanded a CBI probe into the matter and BJP a court-monitored investigation into activities of Sarathi saying the probe by the crime branch would yield no result.