Seized money was for building Samadhi: Sai Trust

Sri Satya Sai Central Trust said the over Rs 35 lakh recently seized by police belonged to devotees.

Last Updated: Jun 28, 2011, 16:10 PM IST

Puttaparti: Under cloud over
allegations of wrongdoing, Sri Satya Sai Central Trust Tuesday
said the over Rs 35 lakh recently seized by police belonged to
devotees and the money was given to a consultant for
construction of a memorial of Sai Baba.

The Trust said it had no connection with the funds
seized by Andhra Pradesh Police on the night of June 20 from a
vehicle at Kodikonda checkpost under Chilamanthur police
station bordering Karnataka.

A group of devotees had approached Trust member R
Ratnakar, a nephew of Sai Baba, to contribute funds for the
construction of `Maha Samadhi` of the spiritual guru and they
had given over Rs 35 lakh for the purpose, Trust member V
Srinivasan said, maintaining that the Trust affairs are being
conducted transparently.

The money was handed over to a Bangalore-based project
consultant for construction of the `Maha Samadhi` on June 18
and the car of the consultant was stopped en route to
Bangalore by police and the money seized, he said.

The project consultant has filed a letter with the
police explaining that the funds had been given to them and
that the money should be released for carrying out the
construction work, he said.

"The donors, who gave this money, have also filed
affidavits in the court giving their bank numbers and saying
that they have given the funds to Ratnakar for `Maha Samadhi’
work. The Trust has no connection with these funds," he said.

Srinivasan and another Trust member Naganand were
addressing a press conference here in the wake of allegations
of irregularities in the affairs of the Trust.

Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar
Reddy is understood to have briefed Governor E S L Narasimhan
about the government action with regard to the Trust in the
wake of alleged financial irregularities.

The Chief Minister drove to the Raj Bhavan in
Hyderabad for an unscheduled meeting with the Governor, after
paying floral tributes to former Prime Minister P V Narasimha
Rao at PV Ghat here on his 91st birth anniversary, officials

Reddy informed the Governor about the letter written
by the government to the Trust secretary, seeking details
related to its functioning and financial transactions, they

Srinivasan said all information and cooperation sought
by police as part of its investigation is being given.

Srinivasan and Ratnakar have been questioned by the
police as part of the investigation into the seizure of the

Asked about the clarification sought by the Andhra
Pradesh government on the affairs of the Trust, Srinivasan
said any such request would be promptly complied with.

"We will certainly submit a report to the government.
There is no problem. Any request from government will be
promptly attended to. About the question of monitoring by
government, it is up to the government," Srinivasan said.

Denying any wrongdoings in running the Trust,
Srinivasan said transparency is being ensured in all

They said the Trust has paid Rs 9.75 crore income tax
though there is no demand from the IT department and that they
have decided to pay necessary tax on various other taxable

Noting that the Trust has the financial strength and
the members are quite capable of managing its affairs, he said
he saw no reason or need for the government to make a
mechanism to run the Sai institutions.

"This is not an adverse comment on government.
Government is supreme. They can take whatever decisions they
want," he said.

Stating that Satya Sai Baba had made provision like
fixed deposits to run the various activities of the Trust, the
two members said the service initiatives of the body would
continue without any hindrance.

Replying to a query, Naganand said the Trust has not
made any valuation of the worth of the body.