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Sai Trust members summoned by police: Cash seizure

Posted by on June 22, 2011 0 Comment

Hyderabad: Anantapur police on Wednesday issued notices to two members of the Satya Sai Central Trust, V Srinivasan and RJ Ratnakar, to appear before it for questioning in the case of the transfer of Rs 35.5 lakh which was intercepted at a checkpost on June 19.

This is the first time that any member of the Trust will be questioned by the police.

The notices were issued a day after the police questioned the Chief Security Officer Pradhan of the Prashanti Nilayam, the Ashram of the late Satya Sai Baba who passed away on April 24.

Mr Pradhan had denied that he was not present on the night of June 19, when the money is believed to have been taken from the Yajur Mandir, the personal abode of the late seer.

The Rs 35.5 lakh was being transported in a van from Puttaparthi to Bangalore when it was intercepted and seized. The driver of the van, Harish Shetty was arrested. The police later took two more persons in custody, Chandrasekhar Murthy and Sohan Shetty.

The three are presently under judicial custody, till June 27.

Incidentally, the money was seized two days after the Trust members unlocked the Yajur Mandir and evaluated the treasure inside. The members had said that the Mandir had yielded Rs 11.56 crore in cash, 98 kg of gold ornaments and 307 kg silver items.

The treasure was deposited in the State Bank of India.

Earlier, the Yajur Mandir was sealed after rumours began to be aired that the valuables inside it were being looted in connivance of the Trust Members, even as the late Satya Sai Baba was undergoing treatment in the Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences.

Meanwhile, sources say that the police believe that a much bigger treasure trove could still be concealed inside the Yajur Mandir, that the one publicly acknowledged by the Trust members.

“False ceilings, secret rooms, even secret floors are believed to have been constructed in which a huge treasure trove could be hidden,” the sources say.

The only person who is believed to have any idea about the hidden treasures could be Satyajit, the personal caretaker of the late Satya Sai Baba, the sources said.

He had unhindered access to the Yajur Mandir during the Baba’s lifetime.

Earlier, Satya Sai Central Trust member RJ Ratnakar had denied that the seized money was not connected to the Trust.

On Tuesday, Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy had told media persons that the government had already ordered the police not to bow down to any pressure and carry out a thorough investigation into the cash seizures.(INN)

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