With the passing away of spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba on Sunday morning, it will now be the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust which will control the Rs 40,000 crore spiritual empire.
There will be no individual managing the trust, but Baba's close aides, Satyajith (his personal care giver) and Ratnakar (his nephew) will form part of this trust and have a more powerful say in it.
The trust will have its work cut out as it would have to manage the health facilities, educational institutions apart from a host of assets which spread over nearly 100 countries.
Sai Baba has over 6 million devotees ranging from various classes including the high and mighty who have had to drop protocol when they visit the ashram. The donations which keep pouring into the trust have been exempt from tax and this has fuelled speculation of misappropriation of funds in the past several times. However the trust claims that there have been checks and balances and these allegations are baseless.
However, devotees refuse to believe these allegations against the trust and say that when they come into Puttaparthi they feel as though they are in magical land. They point to the public services that Baba has rendered -- the 220-bed Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Medical Sciences, the Sathya Sai University, a religious museum, railway station, stadium, music college, an airport and also the famous super speciality hospital in Bangalore.
The devotees say it is not humanly possible to provide such expensive medical care for free and only Baba could have achieved this. At Bangalore alone the hospital has conducted over 4 lakh heart surgeries free of cost. In addition to all this the trust of which Baba was the chairman had funded drinking water projects in Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh and also helped in lining the sides of the Kandaleru canal to provide drinking water to Chennai.
The trust will also be responsible to 1,300 ashrams worldwide. The main centres were however Puttaparthi and Whitefield in Bangalore. Puttaparthi has always been the headquarters but the Whitefield ashram was where Baba used to be during the summers. The trust also runs the Radio Sai Global Harmony and also the famous Sathya Sai Baba Educare Programme.
The key personalities in the future would be K Chakravarthi, an IAS officer, who was a district collector. He had quit his job and decided to serve Baba. He is the secretary of the Shri Sathya Sai Central Trust.
S V Giri who resigned as Central Vigilance Commissioner in 1998 and joined the ashram as the vice-chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai University. The other key member is Justice P N Bhagavati, former chief justice of India who is a member of the trust. Indulal Shah, a chartered accountant by profession is also a key member of the Sai Baba organisation.
The new entrant to the trust is Ratnakar, nephew of Sai Baba who was included into the trust after the death of his father Janakiram. In the days to come the trust will also see Satyajith, Baba's personal caregiver. His name will be included on the instructions of Baba himself who had said last year that Satyajith should be given a more important role and hence should be made part of the trust.