Sarathi Baba wiki and biography here.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today ordered a Crime Branch probe into the Sarathi Baba controversy following the exclusive expose and constant news flash on News7 channel.
Crime Branch ADG Bijay Kumar Sharma told media that tomorrow (Friday) the Crime Branch team would move to Kendrapada and initiate a comprehensive investigation basing on both media highlights and written complaints lodged in the local police station.
Few people know about the background of Odisha godman Sarathi Baba. His real name is Santosh Raul, whose native place is Ganjam district. His family later shifted to Kendrapara district after his father was appointed as a meter reader in the Electrical Sub Division office at Mahipala.
After completing his primary education, Santosh completed his Matriculation from Gulnagar High School in Kendrapara. Later he took admission in Kendrapada college. He was not good at his studies and used to sit in the last bench in his class.
His classmates say Santosh used to tell them that one day he will become a God and they will fall on his feet.
Reminiscing about the days before Santosh became famous, Kendarapada based lawyer Binod Bihari Nayak says: “He used to run errands for us. He would fetch tea, paan and other such stuff for us. I don’t know how and when he became a Baba.”
Nayak says Santosh vanished from Kendarapara in 1985 and reappeared in the town after seven years in 1992. “He had completely changed his attire and now sported a white dhoti, a white half-banyan and a Bombay Dyeing turkish towel on his shoulder. Though no one quite knows where he spent the intervening seven years, many believe he went to Kamaksha and learnt some black magic before returning to Kendrapara,” he says.
From then on, Santosh identified himself as Srimad Sarathi Dev and began his second innings of his life at Barimula on the Kendrapara-Indupur road in 1992-93 where he purchased two gunths of land at Rs 65,000. There he set up a modest ashram in a thatched house and conducted satsang every Sunday.
Sarathi Baba, however, soon went beyond holding satsangs and graduated to performing ‘miracles’ producing bibhuti out of nowhere and having honey dripping from his feet, drawing large crowds in the process.
With a large number of people becoming his disciples, his ashram grew from a thatched house to a two-storey building and finally a huge temple, known as Sarathi temple, during Rath Yatra in 2014. Sarathi Baba used to sit on an embellished throne and addresses his disciples.
Some other sources said that, in the late Eighties, many had seen him singing songs in devotional music programmes in Kendrapada town.
With the dawn of Nineties, Santosh Raul, a college dropout, had donned the mantle of Sarathi Baba. By the turn of Century, popularity of Sarathi Baba had swelled manifold with thousands of devotees making beeline to Sarathi Ashram in Barimula village on the outskirts of district Headquarters Township.
Sarathi Baba presently has a group of influential devotees including political leaders, IAS, OAS and police officers, well-known industrialists and cine stars. Many BJD politicians, including a minister from the district, are frequently seen in his ashram.
Armed police were deployed near the ashram to keep a close watch on the situation to avoid any breach in order.