Rs3.5 million seized from Sai trust car

HYDERABAD — Speculations in several quarters including the media that all was not well in late Sathya Sai Baba’s abode in Puttaparthi post his death gained ground when police seized Rs3.5 million in cash from a vehicle bound for Benguluru.

By P.s. Jayaram

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Published: Mon 20 Jun 2011, 11:37 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:35 PM

The mystery behind the treasure trove at Sai Baba’s Yajurved Mandir, his residence in the past few years, has only deepened with the latest development. Close on the heels of unearthing a dazzling array of gold, silver, jewellery and cash from Baba’s personal chamber at “Prashanthi Nilayam,” the police have seized Rs3.5 million in cash from a Bangalore-bound vehicle reportedly belonging to Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT).

The police stumbled upon the cash, stuffed into a bag, during a routine checking at a toll-gate near Kodikonda check post in Anantapur district late last night. The car proceeding towards Benguluru was confiscated and the driver was arrested.

According to police sources, the arrested driver admitted that the money was given to him by someone connected with the Trust.

He was taken to Puttaparthi for further investigation. “A vehicle carrying Rs3.5 million in cash has been confiscated from a check post bordering Karnataka.

“We have detained the driver and verifying from him the source of cash besides where it was being taken,” Anantapur District Superintendent of Police Shah Nawaz Qasim said.

An influential member of Sathya Sai Trust and Baba’s nephew R J Ratnakar, however, claimed that the money seized by the police did not belong to the Trust.

However, the recovery of huge money has further strengthened fears of a section of devotees and general public that large amounts of cash, jewellery and other valuables might have been shipped out of the ashram when Baba was in the hospital battling for life.

The Trust authorities had, on June 17, found huge quantities of gold, precious stones, silver and cash inside “Yajurveda Mandir”, an opulent residential quarter of Baba. The authorities had found 98 Kg of gold, 307 Kg of silver and Rs 11.56 crore in cash.

The Yajurveda Mandir had remained closed ever since Baba was hospitalised on March 28. The spiritual guru passed away on April 24.

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