Puttaparthi traders demand state takeover of Sai trust

Puttaparthi traders demand state takeover of Sai trust

Puttaparthi traders demand state takeover of Sai trust

Shops and business establishments were voluntarily closed in the town as dozens of  traders, holding placards and shouting slogans, took out a rally, demanding the state government take over the Sathya Sai Central Trust in view of the serious charges of financial misappropriation against its members.

Anger is sweeping the business community in the town over the reported acts of omission and commission by the trust.

Trust member and late Sathya Sai Baba's nephew R.J. Ratnakar is to appear before police later in the day while another member, V. Srinivasan, is likely to be quizzed Monday.

The police issued notices to two of the trust members after three people arrested with Rs.35.5 lakh on July 19 revealed they were transporting the cash from Puttaparthi to Bangalore on the instruction of the trust members.

Worried over the impact the controversies may have on their business, traders are demanding that the government take over the trust, which manages the vast empire of the late Sai Baba who had millions of followers all over the world.

The devotees, including the business community in Puttaparthi, want an administrative body on the lines of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) to run the empire.

Taking a serious note of the goings-on, the state government on June 22 sought a detailed report from the trust on its activities, its future programmes, assets and financial matters.

The government is also considering withdrawal of several exemptions enjoyed by the trust under the Endowment Act for last 35 years.

The trust, which runs educational and healthcare facilities in Puttaparthi, other parts of Anantapur, Bangalore and schools in various countries, has been facing series of allegations after the demise of Sathya Sai Baba April 24.