‘Secret Swami’ (Late) Sai Baba: Vast Millions In Hoard Found Hidden In His Palace-Temple
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 18, 2011
Yesterday, I blogged on an email we received from an Indian correspondent long known to us, and included a number of links to the last 24 hours or so of Indian press reportage of the huge stash of money and valuables secreted in Sathya Sai Baba’s palatial private quarters. See: Sathya Sai Baba’s Residence Unlocked. Vast Treasury Uncovered. Sathya Sai Baba’s visible opulence contains vast secret stash of money and valuables
In the last two days, the Indian media has just tapped a treasury of potent news to shake up and down in its headlines. Of course, making up for lost time in factual reportage on Sathya Sai Baba is out of the question; for it has an extremely poor record of almost all sections in publishing critically on Sathya Sai Baba.
But now – not least at a time when many Sai Baba devotees in India are starting to speak out and ask accountability and transparency questions – the Indian media can hardly fail to report properly on matters such as the huge treasure hoard just opened up, many unanswered questions about the circumstances of Sai Baba’s illness and death, the internicine fights over succession, and so on.
For decades, almost all of the Indian media has shirked critical comment on Sathya Sai Baba. We know from our private dealings that well-informed journalists, politicians and government officials in India know much about the dark side of Sathya Sai Baba. All the talk about ‘Shining India’ or ‘Incredible India’ does the greatest disservice to its creditable figures. They are shining. They are incredible. But they are too few. The untold corruption makes the country incredibly hard to deal with, a fact relented endlessly by decent Indians themselves and everyone else who has professional, government, financial, trade and other connections with India. ‘
That the Indian media could allow respected media overseas to make the running in exposing Sathya Sai Baba and his profoundly authoritarian and secretive cult is to its utter discredit.
Here are just a few of this morning’s headlines:
Puttaparthi Saibaba’s rich room!
Trust officials find Sai Baba’s room of gold
Treasure found from Sai Baba’s chamber
Sathya Sai Baba’s Personal Chamber Opened
Here is a succinct report (published today, but dated yesterday) from the Indo Asian News Service, which, by the way, in marked contradistinction, we have found professional and reasonable to deal with:
Hyderabad, June 17 (IANS) Around Rs.12 crore in cash and nearly 100 kg of gold were found in the personal chamber of late spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba at Prashanti Nilayam, his ashram in Puttaparthi in Anantapur district, a trust official said Friday.
A day after the Sathya Sai Central Trust opened the locks of the Baba’s personal chamber, Yajur Mandir, his nephew and trust member R.J. Ratnakar Friday evening announced details of the cash and valuables found inside.
He told reporters at Puttaparthi that the trust members found Rs.11.56 crore, 98 kg gold and gold jewelery, 307 kg silver articles in the personal chamber where nobody was alloweed to enter. Ratnakar said the cash would be deposited with the State Bank of India (SBI).
Some bank officials and about 15 disciples of Baba, in the presence of trust members, have since Thursday counted the cash with the help of currency counting machines. The Yajur Mandir is an opulent residence built by Baba.
Ratnakar said Baba’s residential quarter was opened in the presence of all five members of the trust. A former judge of the Supreme Court, A.P. Misra, and former Karnataka High Court judge Vaidyanathan were present as independent witnesses while an assessor approved by the Income Tax department was there to evaluate the gold, jewellery and silver.
Ratnakar claimed the idea behind the whole exercise was to make an inventory of all the items in a transparent manner.
The trust reportedly found gold statues of Hindu gods and diamonds.
Ratnakar, however, denied that they found any will of Baba. He also evaded queries if the trust found any documents about Baba’s personal caregiver Satyajit. There are speculations that the spiritual guru wanted to make Satyajit his successor or a member of the powerful trust.
Yajur Mandir, also known as Yajurveda Mandir, had remained closed ever since Sathya Sai Baba was hospitalised March 28 with multi-organ dysfunction. He died April 24.
There were allegations by a section of devotees that large amounts of cash and gold jewelery were shipped out of the place when Baba was battling for life. The trust, however, has denied this.
Some devotees were also demanding that the locks of Baba’s personal chamber be opened in their presence or at least in the presence of media persons.
The trust, which manages the huge spiritual empire led by Baba, owns assets in Puttaparthi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and other cities.
Meanwhile, the trust has decided to open Yajur Mandir for devotees on July 15. It also plans to open a museum at Prashanti Nilayam to showcase the personal belongings of the spiritual guru.
- 98 kg gold, Rs.12 crore cash found in Sathya Sai Baba’s chamber
- Sathya Sai Baba’s personal chamber opened
- Trust decides to open Sathya Sai Baba’s personal chamber
- Crucial meet of Sathya Sai trust after funeral
- Sathya Sai Trust defers selection of new chairman
Next article – Sunday 19 June 2011 (Australian Eastern Standard Time)
Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)