Money given by devotees for building Sai samadhi
Puttaparthi (Andhra Pradesh): The Sathya Sai Central Trust on Tuesday said it had nothing to do with the cash seized by police, and that it was given by devotees to build a samadhi of the late Sai Baba.
Denying allegations of financial irregularities for the first time since the seized Rs.35 lakh, the trust said the money was paid to Bangalore-based Shankarnayana Consultancy Pvt Ltd. This was being taken by the firm's employees to Bangalore when police seized the same.
Addressing a press conference, trust member V. Srinivasan said that since the trust was not a religious institution and cannot take up construction of a samadhi, it permitted devotees to undertake the work.
The police seized the cash from a vehicle near Hindupur June 18 and arrested three people.
"We have given all the information to police," said Srinivasan, who along with another trustee R.J. Ratnakar was questioned by police. He denied the vehicle belonged to the trust.
A legal advisor to the trust, Naganand, said the incident was blown out of proportion by the media.
Srinivasan revealed that the trust has paid Rs.9.75 crore as income tax on the cash and valuables found in Yajur Mandir, the personal chamber of Sai Baba which was opened June 16.
"We have paid the income tax though there was no demand from the income tax department," he said.
The trustee said the trust was ready to submit a report about its activities and finances to the Andhra Pradesh government, which sought the information Monday.
Claiming that the trust was capable of managing the institutions run by it, Srinivasan felt there was no need for the government to have a separate mechanism for monitoring.