A day after Sathya Sai Baba was buried in April this year, members of the Shri Sathya Sai Baba Central Trust told the press that the seer who was worshipped by millions had left no will behind for his estimated Rs 40,000 crore empire and the trust would henceforth manage all its affairs.
They had shot down all questions about Sai Baba's personal caregiver Sathyajit, who was being touted as the man who would carry forward the Baba's legacy from the temple town of Puttaparthi in Andhra Pradesh.
But Sathyajit came back into the limelight four days ago, when members of the trust entered Sathya Sai Baba's private chamber Yajur Mandir and found cash and gold worth crores. Some reports claimed that the trustees had also found a will by the religious leader, who has very clearly urged Sathyajit to play a larger role in the affairs of the trust.
Little is known about Sathyajit, who came to Puttaparthi as a student, since he has always shied away from the media and maintained a low profile.
In a candid chat with Rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Sathyajit's uncle Madhav Suvarna talks about the man who was considered one of Sathya Sai Baba's closest associates.
"Our family members have always been devotees of Sai Baba. Sathyajit, after completing his pre-university course, went on to study for his MBA at Puttaparthi. He was a hard-working boy and even secured a gold medal there. Baba saw potential in him and one day asked him to join him. When Baba fell ill, it was Sathyajit who was by his side as his personal caregiver.
"I am aware that there is talk about a will in which Baba wanted Sathyajit to play a more prominent role. We don't know about any such will. During the 85th birthday celebrations of Baba, Sathyajit was told clearly that he would have to take care of Baba's pet project Vidya Vahini. This project aims at providing free education to rural students and the Tata Group is also part of it. My nephew met (Tata Group Chairman) Ratan Tata [ Images ] recently to discuss this project.
"While speaking to my nephew, I never got the indication that he was disappointed about not being included in the trust. He is happy to be part of this project as he is aware that this was Baba's pet project. In fact, he has stated very clearly that he does not want to be part of the trust.
"Sometimes, we feel that he should come back to Mangalore, his home town. But Sathyajit does not want to do so; he wants to spend the rest of his life at Puttaparthi."
Reacting to allegations about Sathyajit administering sleeping tablets to Sathya Sai Baba in his last months, causing the religious leader to be listless, Madhav Suvarna said, "I don't believe that my nephew could do something like this, and even the members of the trust have clarified this."
He added, "I would like to add that there is no problem between my nephew and members of the trust."
About the question regarding Sai Baba's prophecy about his own death going wrong, Suvarna said, "Six months ago, Baba had told Sathyajit that he wanted to leave early.
"He had told Sathyajit, 'I am going; please fulfill your responsibilities and duties well'.
"Sathyajit was upset at that time and told Baba not to go so early.
"He had told Baba, 'Please wait for some more time and I will come with you'. But Baba told him that it was time for him to go, that Sathyajit should stay back and take care of Baba's pet project.
"Sathyajit had visited Puttaparthi as a child, but his connection with Baba began only after he went there after his studies. Our family has been closely connected with Sathya Sai Baba; he has even visited our house once and had lunch.
"Sathyajit does miss Baba a lot and I am sure he will spend the rest of his life in Puttaparthi.
"Everyday, he wakes up and goes to the samadhi at 5 am. At 9 am, he gets back to work on Baba's pet project, the Vidya Vahini. I am sure that my nephew will manage that project very well since he is extremely devoted."