S-I among 6 Narayan Sai aides held in Surat, Rs 8 crore seized

Narayan SaiNarayan Sai, accused in a rape case, outside a court in Surat on Friday. (PTI)

Surat police on Friday arrested six persons, including a sub-inspector of Surat city crime branch, a supermarket mall owner and Ashram Sanchalaks, for allegedly attempting to weaken the Narayan Sai sexual assault case by offering bribes. Police also seized Rs 8 crore in cash and eight mobile phones from the suspects.

Police said those detained were part of a conspiracy, allegedly hatched by Sai from his prison cell, and the seized money was meant for bribing senior police officers, members of the judiciary, doctors and officials of government hospital associated with the case.

Acting on a tip-off, Surat police crime branch intercepted a car at Chowk Bazaar near Gandhibaug circle Thursday night. The officials were surprised to find Sub-Inspector C M Kumbhani of the city crime branch along with Uday Sanghani, a resident of Mumbai who looks after Sai's legal matters. Cash amounting to Rs 1 crore was seized from the car.

The police said the two failed to provide a satisfactory explanation about the cash and hence, were detained. The police also detained three others including the driver — Dhiraj Patel. Others arrested are Dharmesh Patel of Ahmedabad and Hasmukh Upadhyay of Surat — both Sai's aides. During interrogation, they disclosed the name of Ketan Patel, a builder and owner of Sahaj supermarket, as part of this conspiracy. Police raided his house and seized Rs 4 crore cash Thursday. Police said this money was to be disbursed among the police to provide better facilities for Sai in his lock-up cell and to weaken the case. Rs 3 crores was recovered from Mehta's house Friday.

"We learnt about the financial transactions while intercepting calls of close aides of Narayan Sai, following which we laid a laid a trap Thursday. We have seized eight mobile phones from those arrested. Also, 42 bags with 738 volumes of Rishi Darshan, a monthly magazine published from Asaram Bapu ashram, were also seized," said the Surat Police Commissioner.

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