Reports of Sathya Sai Central Trust Van Laden With Treasure Seized By Andhra State Police
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 19, 2011
This story seems only broken as yet via the India Today television news channel.
Overnight (Australian Eastern Standard Time), a usually reliable source of ours with Andhra Pradesh-related police sources reported that Andhra Pradesh State Police have intercepted a Sathya Sai Central Trust van heavily laden with treasure, and arrested three. It seems that the driver has confessed to being an employee of the Trust.
Key words noted in the India Today news segment include:
“Puttaparthi cash haul”……. ” huge cash seized from Sai Baba trust van”………. “Sathya Sai Trust van intercepted and huge cash haul in bags” ……” Van and occupants arrested in Kodikonda checkpost in Ananthapur” ……. “driver confesses being Sathya Sai trust van driver coming from Puttaparthi”…….. “cash seized being held on the spot” ……currency counting machines being rushed to the spot”
Interesting Earlier Sathya Sai Central Trust Statements
This date of this Megamedia News article coincides with the day of Sai Baba’s death: Sai Baba’s wealth in distress now. 3:22 PM, Monday, April 25th, 2011. But, as reported in an Economic Times article: ‘Baba had no successor in mind: Trustees, election for Sai Trust chairman next week’, Apr 28, 2011, 09.53pm IST, a prominent spokesman for Trustees and the Council of Management, Venu Srinivasan stated:
“In the light of baseless, irresponsible and false accusations of defalcation of gold, valuable artefacts and even money, it is emphatically stated that the accusations are wholly untrue and it is believed these have been engineered by certain vested interests”. (Economic Times article: ‘Baba had no successor in mind: Trustees, election for Sai Trust chairman next week’, Apr 28, 2011, 09.53pm IST).
In a very long Press Release by The Trustees and the Council of Management of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust on April 28, 2011 (four days after Sai Baba’s death), it is stated:
18. In light of the baseless, irresponsible and false accusations of defalcation of gold, valuable artefacts and even money, it is emphatically stated that these accusations are wholly untrue and it is believed that these have been engineered by certain vested interests with a view to defame the fair name of the Trust, its functionaries and the Trustees. There is no truth whatsoever in these allegations.
19. All transactions of the Trusts are duly accounted in their books of account. An experienced and qualified chartered accountant oversees the accounting and financial management. The accounts are duly audited by a reputed firm of Chartered Accountants based at Delhi. Periodical returns, accounts and audit reports as prescribed by law are duly filed with the concerned authorities under the Income Tax Act, FCRA and other applicable statutes. There is no proceeding initiated against any of the Trusts by any authority under any statute alleging any impropriety or violation of law.”
But who can possibly believe them?
An old article of mine springs into relevance:
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 7, 2007
See next article to follow the above – to be front paged tomorrow:
The Telegraph. Calcutta
Open sesame! Baba & his chamber of secrets
June 17: Nike and Adidas sneakers. Whole cupboards of perfume and hairspray. Packets full of — and gold crowns studded with — diamonds.
Total worth Rs 35 crore and counting.
The world knew that Sai Baba lived in a cocoon of riches. Only since yesterday has it seen for itself.
Around 8.30 on Thursday morning, the doors were thrown open at Yajur Mandir, the late spiritual leader’s two-storey living quarters at the centre of his Puttaparthi ashram that had been out of bounds for almost everyone for the past 25 years.
A team of chartered accountants, income-tax and bank officials, and members of the Sathya Sai Central Trust walked into the half-dozen rooms to which only Satyajit, the monk’s personal attendant for the past 20 years, had so far had access.
What they found, after Satyajit negotiated the combination locks and biometric security, left everyone staggered, ashram sources said.
If the Rs 11.5 crore in currency notes stashed in cabinets were a surprise, hardly anyone had expected separate almirahs for hair spray and expensive shoes, for dry fruits and biscuits. (See chart)
Thirty-six hours on, the bank officials and student volunteers from the Sathya Sai Educational Institute had just finished counting the cash, aided by three machines from the State Bank of India (SBI). The inventory of jewellery and stones was still incomplete late tonight.
“There are numerous cloth packets with diamonds, whose number and value has not yet been assessed. They and most other valuables will be shifted to the vaults of the SBI’s Puttaparthi branch,” said a trust member.
Some of the gold, silver and personal belongings will stay on at Yajur Mandir, which will be converted into a museum for the monk, who is believed to have left behind assets of Rs 40,000 crore to Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Only a handful of VIP visitors had ever been inside the building, and even they would have seen only the outer chamber where the Sai Baba received them.
The complex was locked immediately after the monk was admitted to hospital on March 28, four weeks before he died on April 24. Even yesterday and today, nobody other than the official team was allowed in. Nobody except one unexpected visitor.
If the riches were a surprise, a second surprise greeted the ashram authorities this morning. Industrialist Ratan Tata, a Sai Baba devotee, arrived unannounced at the Prashanti Nilayam.
Tata flew into Bangalore by a chartered plane and drove in a Mercedes to Puttaparthi, 435km from Hyderabad. He was allowed to enter Yajur Mandir as a special case and spent 45 minutes there.
“He was searching for something he wanted to check. We don’t know what he was looking for and whether he found it, but he did not take anything,” one of the trustees said.
A Sai Institute student who was there said: “Our trust member Ratnakar Raju (a nephew of Sai Baba) spent about 15 minutes with Tata discussing something.”
Tata left Puttaparthi in the evening.
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 18, 2011
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 18, 2011
Posted by Barry Pittard on June 17, 2011
Excerpt From Public Petition (and introduction)