AP govt to scrutinise Trust affairs

AP govt to scrutinise Trust affairs

The IAS officer, a product of Sathya Sai educational institutions is yet to commence his work in view of the happenings at Puttaparthi but had held two rounds of discussions with the officials of the trust and also some of its key members. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has issued strict instructions to both IAS and IPS officials to ensure that there is no succession battle in the Sathya Sai Central Trust and the government should do everything to provide a stable administration, ensuring a smooth functioning of all projects.

“We are not interested in buying any more headaches or takeovers, but we should not allow such institutions to become playgrounds of vested interests” the chief minister is said to have told his cabinet colleagues Geeta Reddy and Raghuveera Reddy who have been camping there since Sai Baba was shifted to hospital in Puttaparthi.

The all-powerful Sathya Sai Central Trust was registered with the endowments commissioner in Anantapur on September 2, 1972 but ever since the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act came into being, the Trust is under the direct purview of the Union Home ministry and exempted by a special legislation by the Centre from filing any annual reports to the state government.

“The Sathya Sai trust is not answerable to either the state government or the endowment department since 1980 onwards. So we have no documents relating to the Sathya Sai Trust,” says K V Ramanachary, principal secretary, endowments. It was during the Congress regime that the request of the Trust to be governed by the Union Home ministry was conceded.

According to Trust sources, it had filed its report for 2009 about three months back. As per the submissions, the Trust received Rs 95 crore as foreign contribution in 2003-04, Rs 47.7 crore in 1996-97, Rs 42.9 crore in 1997-98, Rs 39.8 crore in 1998-99 and Rs 50.2 crore in 1999-2000. In 2001-02, the Trust received Rs 88.18 crore as foreign contributions. Besides, it is also exempted from declaring all donations even by cheque or DD from Indian donors. “The Trust enjoys 100 per cent I-T exemption”said a Trust official.
Apart from the Central trust the empire of the godman is spread across the country and also several nations. There are several trusts floated by Saibaba to carry out various philanthropic activities.

The trust is headed by the Baba as chairman and K Chakravarti (retd IAS and son of C Rajagopalachari) as secretary.

The Trust allegedly has assets worth Rs 40,000 crore (Rs.5 lakh crore is unofficial estimate) in several states and countries which were being compiled for presentation to the government. “Nobody dared to raise these issues when Sai Baba was hale and healthy, but now everybody wants to know if something is missing, “ lamented Parama Shiva, a veteran ashram worker.