Sai Baba Trustees leave questions unanswered

The trustees, who claimed themselves to be “persons of impeccable credentials, honour and integrity”, faced questions questions relating to the death of the Baba and his treatment.

“As trustees, we are not involved with the treatment given to the Baba in hospital. There was no reason for us to believe that 'something was extraordinarily wrong’ with Satya Sai Baba's health prior to March 28, the day he was hospitalized. If people want to imagine something more than that, we can’t help it,” Venu Srinivasan, speaking on behalf of the Trust, told a press conference at the Satya Sai Indoor Stadium here this afternoon.
“We are not ducking any questions,” Srinivasan noted but his answers were mostly in denial mode.

On the treatment given to Baba since his hospitalization on March 28, he said it was the Baba himself who chose the doctors to attend and the kind of treatment".

"It was the Baba who decided which doctors to consult and the treatment required. In the hospital, the Baba was treated by doctors like 'any other patient'. The doctors did not treat him as 'God' and let him take care of himself. Baba was, no doubt, fragile but there was no reason for any of us to believe anything was extraordinarily wrong," Srinivasan added.Maintaining that the value of Trust properties was "hugely exaggerated" by the media, Srinivasan and another Trustee Naganand, a Supreme Court lawyer, said the value was always subjective.

"The Trust properties are for a specific purpose. Every single piece of land owned by the Trust is for charitable purpose and the properties are not available for sale or commercial exploitation," they added.

The SSSCT owned several acres of land in Puttaparthi, Bengaluru, Anantapur, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Kodaikanal, Rajahmundry and other places on which hospitals, educational institutions and other facilities came up.

“The income of the Central Trust and its associate Sri Satya Sai Medical Trust ranged from Rs 100 crore to Rs 130 crore per annum in the last four years. The expenditure for the same period was between Rs 75 crore and Rs 100 crore per annum. It is, therefore, evident that the size of the Trust is modest,” Naganand said.

While stating that the trustees themselves had “no individual vested interests”, Srinivasan alleged certain vested interests were trying to defame the fair name of the Trust, its functionaries and the Trustees."

He, however, said "we don't want to name anybody but there are efforts to defame us," Srinivas said.

“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," Srinivasan added.

Maintaining that the value of Trust properties was "hugely exaggerated" by the media, Srinivasan and another Trustee Naganand, a Supreme Court lawyer, said the value was always subjective.

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