Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust has clarified that Sai Baba has not left any will on its property and activities.
The Trust asserted that Sai Baba had no bank account, flats or any other possessions in his name as “he was above the worldly possessions” and that the trustees would continue the programmes launched by him and monitor the day-to-day administration.
Refuting reports of differences among the trustees, V. Srinivasan, a trustee, said they were united.
All the Trust members jointly addressed a press conference on Thursday fielding a volley of questions on the apprehensions about the future of the Trust, medical treatment given to Sai Baba and reports of rift among them. The Trust would soon finalise the chairman, from among the members.
Cheque signing power
On delegating the cheque signing power, S.S. Naganand, an advocate and Member of the Council of Management, said Sai Baba had the power and he was signing the cheques till March 28. The need for signing cheques did not arise after his hospitalisation as they were issued once at the end of every month.
The trustees would together take a decision and nominate at least two of them for joint operation of the accounts, said Sai Baba's nephew and trustee R. J. Ratnakar.
The Trust strongly refuted the reports of gold bricks having been smuggled out of the Prashanthi Nilayam, claiming it to be “totally mala fide” and aimed at tarnishing the image of the Trust by vested interests.
On the value of the property, Mr. Srinivasan said it was inconsequential as they were not meant for commercial exploitation.
The value was entered in the account books and the Trust had not violated any Income Tax law or the Foreign Currency Regulations. Legal proceedings had been initiated against a daily for publishing “irresponsible and derogatory” reports, he said.
Asked about the demand from Sai Baba's family members for broad-basing the Trust, giving them representation in it, he said the question of anyone demanding a place did not arise, as all the Trustees were handpicked by the Baba himself.
None in the Trust had clamoured for any position and “we are all here because the Sai Baba wanted us to be.”
The Trust was made a full-fledged body last year when Mr. Ratnakar was taken on board. Sai Baba would have inducted other members had he wanted to do so at that time itself.
Justice P.N. Bhagwati, also a trustee, said the Andhra Pradesh government offered its cooperation to the trustees to carry forward the mission of Sai Baba assuring them that it would not intervene in the Trust's affairs.
Among others who were present at the press conference were secretary K. Chakravarthi and members Indulal Shah and S.V. Giri.