CUTTACK: THE Orissa High Court (HC) has allowed self-proclaimed spiritual leader Santosh Roul alias Sarathi Baba to give pravachan or spiritual discourse, 19 months after he was released from jail.The single judge bench of Justice CR Dash allowed Roul to give pravachan after July 1, but to a maximum gathering of 200 persons in adherence to Covid-19 guidelines. The HC relief came on Monday while allowing Roul’s petition seeking modification of one of the conditions laid in its August 4, 2017 bail order.
The HC had granted him conditional bail on August 4, 2017. But Roul had to remain in jail till he was granted bail in another case on July 22, 2019. He was released from jail on July 25, 2019 on furnishing a bail bond of Rs 2 lakh. Subsequently, he had filed the petition in August, 2019 seeking modification by the way of allowing him to give spiritual discourses as it was his only source of income.
In his petition, Roul claimed that he is facing severe financial hardship and at present, he is not even in a position to arrange funds for paying the rent of his house and meet other basic expenses. He pleaded that his only source of income was pravachan and he cannot eke out living unless he is allowed to do so.
Sarathi Baba was arrested by the Crime Branch on August 8, 2015 from his Barimula ashram in Kendrapara district on charges of sexual exploitation of women apart from cheating devotees.The State Crime Branch had seized more than 30 bank accounts with deposits of over Rs 2 crore along with 50 property documents in the name of Satyam Charitable Trust, floated in the name of his adopted son Satyam Roul.