Police had on Wednesday issued notices to two trustees of the Sai Central Trust – Mr. Ratnakar and V. Srinivasan - asking them to appear before it in connection with the cash seizure.
R.J. Ratnakar, a Member of Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, was grilled by Anantapur district police at the Prashanthi Nilayam on Saturday, in connection with the seizure of Rs.35 lakh in cash while it was being transported from here on June 18.
A team of police led by DSP of Penukonda Kolar Krishna interrogated Mr. Ratnakar, nephew of late Sai Baba, for more than five hours.
The interrogation is significant in light of the “confessions” to the police by K. Sohan Shetty of Bangalore and S. Chandrasekhara Murthy, driver of the car seized by the police. According to the remand report filed by the Circle Inspector of Hindupur One Town, Mr. Shetty (A2) confessed that Mr. Ratnakar and V. Srinivasan, another trustee, had given him Rs.35 lakh on June 18 to conceal and provide it as and when required.
The driver (A3) said during interrogation that the two trustees had brought the cash bag from Yajur Mandir, residence of Sai Baba, and kept it in a Sonata car. Later, on their directions, he transported the cash and handed it over to Mr. Shetty. “The Trust management or A2, who got possession of the cash, had failed to produce any document or record claiming the money belonged to them,” the report added.
According to sources, the police also questioned Mr. Ratnakar on the basis of the reported statements of Mr. Srinivasan, that the cash indeed belonged to the Trust and that it was just a rare occasion when the Trust decided to pay out in cash for construction of Sai Baba's Samadhi. This was in contrast to Mr. Ratnakar's own statement that the cash did not belong to the Trust but to 12 different donors, who would eventually claim it.
Earlier in the day, hundreds of people took out a procession in Puttaparthi demanding the resignation of members of the Trust till such time that they prove themselves to be innocent.