Trust seeks to allay fears of 'vacuum'

Built through donations of millions of devotees and core of all philanthropic activites under his name, the Trust established by the godman in 1972, runs free schools, a university, free hospitals, cultural centres and undertakes development and philanthropic works within and outside the country.

Even if the trustees who include eminent personalities like former Chief Justice of India P N Bhagwati, ex-Central Vigilance Commissioner S V Giri, former CII national president, V Srinivasan and R J Ratnakar, Baba’s nephew (son of his younger brother Janakiramaiah), manage to name a person to chair the turst, whether devotees will accept the name or not, will remain a question mark.

Speaking to Deccan Herald on Sunday, a well placed source in the Trust said: "In the board meeting held last year, the last that Bhagawan participated in, we decided to pass a resolution which allows any of the two trust members to sign cheques."
This means that any two individuals from the pool of five members can make those decisions.

The trust seeks to allay fears of any  “vacuum” in carrying forward works envisioned by Baba.

“Institutions like schools, university, hospitals and other organisations are run by respective Trusts. There is or will be no vacuum and we firmly beleive that Baba will continue to guide the trustees. The interests of the instituions are paramount,” the trust said in a statement issued recently after Sai Baba fell ill.

Contenders
The most-talked-about contender to succeed Sai Baba is former IAS officer K Chakravarthi, who quit the service in 1981 and relocated to Puttaparthi on the spiritual guru's advice.

Chakravarthi, Secretary of the trust since 1994, is said to be a close confidant of Baba and also has the confidence of trustees.

But he also faces criticism from devotees of keeping the spiritual leader away from masses and family.

Chakravarthi was a district collector at Anantapur when Sai Baba's mission was being built.

Another candidate for heading the trust is Janakiramaiah's son R J Rathnakar, an MBA who is also the only family member of Sai Baba in the trust. Rathnakar may not be having any visible political influence but his father Jankiram was District President Congress of Anantapur for nearly 11 years.

The third important contender for shouldering the responsibility of managing this spiritual empire is Sathyajit - personal attendant of Sai Baba since 2002.
Thirty three-year old Sathyajit devoted his life to Sai Baba after completing his educationThe third important contender for shouldering the responsibility of managing this spiritual empire is Sathyajit - personal attendant of Sai Baba since 2002.

Thirty three-year old Sathyajit, who joined Satya Sai School at the age of five, completed his education from Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning with an MBA degree as a topper of the University. After passing out, he devoted his life to Sai Baba and is said to be so important that without his permission, no outsider can enter inner sanctum of Sai Baba's Pasathi Nilayam.

A Trust source  has rubbished rumours doing rounds in select media enterprises, that Baba had expressed willingness in making Sathyajit in-charge of the trust and that there was a clash between Sathyajit and Ratnakar.

"Trust Secretary K Chakravarthi and trust members V Srinivasan and S V Giri have always been with Baba since last year and he has never mentioned any such thing ever," the source said.

The Trust is also fearing a possible takeover by the Andhra Pradesh government which has been denied on-record by Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Heavy Industries Minister Geetha Reddy.

In an interview with Deccan Herald, Andhra Pradesh Principal Secretary L V Subramanya had said that the government has no plans of interfering in the activities or taking over of the Trust.

Further, in a recent statement issued by the Trust, Ratnakar had said: "The functioning of the Trust, aided by millions of dollars through donations, is being managed in line with all the laws governing such a body in the country."

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