Puttaparthi: Sathya Sai Baba’s nephew RJ Ratnakar is in the thick of allegations regarding the seizure of Rs 35 lakhs in cash allegedly belonging to the Sathya Sai Central Trust.
As per reports, Tuesday, the driver of the vehicle from which the cash was seized, Harishnanda Shetty, has named Ratnakar in his statement to the police. The vehicle was seized at Bagepally toll-gate near Hindupur town.
Shetty said that the money belonged to the Trust and that he was asked to deliver the money from Puttaparthi to Bangalore. He works as an engineer in a construction company owned by a trust member.
Ratnakar has claimed that the trust had nothing to do with the cash. He said in a statement that the cash belonged to 12 devotees and they would give all the details to police.
However, the police appear to be not convinced. They are probing the question: When all the transactions of the trust are done through cheques, then what was the need to use cash? Secondly, when all the cash, gold and silver found in the Yajur Mandir had been accounted for then, what was the origin of the cash found in the car?
Following the revelations, Ratnakar and another trust member V Srinivasan have been served notices by the police, asking them to give their statements on the entire episode.
The income tax department is also said to be probing the issue.
The Yajur Mandir, the residential quarters of the Sai Baba at Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthi, was opened just two days before the cash seizure.
The trust had declared that it found Rs 11.56 crore, 98 kg gold and gold jewellery and 307 kg of silver articles inside which had been deposited with the State Bank of India (SBI).
The arrest and recovery of money has strengthened the apprehensions of a section of devotees that huge amounts of cash and jewellery might have been shipped out of Yajur Mandir when Sai Baba was battling for life in a hospital.
The spiritual guru passed away April 24.
With IANS Inputs