July 4, 2011 Deccan Chronicle Anantapur
July 3: The police is apparently certain that the Rs 35 lakh that was seized was not donated by 12 devotees for Satya Sai Baba’s Mahasamadhi construction works as had been claimed by the Satya Sai Central Trust members.
After enquiring with devotees who had supposedly donated the cash, which had been seized from engineer Harish Ananda Shetty while being taken to Bengaluru from Baba’s personal chamber Yajur Mandir, the police concluded that their claims were false. The bank transaction details furnished by the devotees were found irrelevant as the police realised that most of the transactions had been done six months back. The receipts on the bundles of the seized cash, however, showed that they had been withdrawn from various banks between 2007 and 2009. The police have thus intensified their probe and special teams have spoken to donors in Bengaluru and Chennai.
A police officer said that the Trust had been accepting donations in cash and gold from devotees and this became clear when Harish Ananda Shetty was arrested on June 18 adding that the bank statements produced by the donors were not connected with the cash seized. A police official said that cases might be registered against trustees Mr V. Srinivasan and Mr R.J. Ratnakar as they had found prima facie evidence after two of the three accused in connection with the case had confessed that the two trustees had handed over the cash to them in Yajur Mandir. It is being presumed that there is more treasure and the police think that the trustees have deliberately ignored to take inventories of all valuables.
It is also being wondered why the trust sought the government’s assistance on Saturday to appraise gold and silver as they had not done so when they had opened Baba’s bedroom and other private quarters a fortnight ago.