After Sarathi’s Release From Jail, ED Tightens Noose

Bhubaneswar: Self-styled Godman Sarathi alias Santosh Roul who was released from Choudwar jail recently after getting conditional bail from the Orissa High Court is now under the tight scrutiny of the Enforcement Directorate.

A 4-member team of the ED today put up a notice at Sarathi’s Barimula Ashram in Kendrapara issuing strict directives against unauthorized entry of any followers or Sarathi himself into the ashram.

The notice claimed that a list of immovable property including the ashram of Sarathi is under possession of the ED under Section 8 (4) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act-2002. The notice mentioned that any trespassers into the ashram will be prosecuted.

Meanwhile, with speculations over his whereabouts, Sarathi’s counsel Manas Chand today informed that the self-styled Godman is presently out of Odisha. The court has said that my client can go out of the State but before that he has to inform about the visiting place and give his contact information to the Investigating Officer, his counsel said.

Earlier on Friday, Crime Branch ADG Santosh Upadhyay had informed that Sarathi would be under the scanner and the investigating officer probing cases against him will approach the court for stringent legal action in case if Sarathi is found violating the conditions of his bail.

Orissa High Court on Monday granted conditional bail to Sarathi in connection with the case pertaining to alleged sexual harassment of a woman and her daughter. Later on Thursday, the self-styled Godman was released from Choudwar jail after the bail bond papers were produced before the Kendrapara SJDM court.

While granting bail, the High Court has imposed restriction on Sarathi’s entry into his Barimula ashram and he has also been directed not to influence the witnesses in the case. Sarathi cannot leave the State without the permission of the Kendrapara SJDM court or hold any public meetings, his bail conditions stipulate.

The controversial Godman was arrested by the Crime Branch on August 8, 2015 from his Barimula ashram in Kendrapada district on allegations of sexual and physical exploitation of women apart from defrauding devotees. At least three cases under Indian Penal Code-506, 420, 467, 468, 471, 321, 120 (b) and 34 were registered against him.