'Cash in Trust vehicle meant for Sai Baba's samadhi'
A group of devotees of the late Sathya Sai Baba, in a statement on Sunday, said the cash of Rs 35 lakh recovered from the vehicle of Sathya Sai Central Trust belonged to them and was meant for the construction of Sai Baba's Maha Samadhi.
Media reports had said that the cash was reportedly being shifted from Yajur Mandir, the private chamber of Sai Baba, at Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthi town of Anantapur, to Bangalore.
Image: A file photo of Sathya Sai Baba
'We did not give the money to Trust account'
A group of 12 devotees of Sai Baba submitted a letter to the Chilamattur Police Station House Officer giving their version.
"We, a group of devotees, have collected small amounts from each and pooled it in order to participate in the construction of the holy Samadhi at Prashanti Nilayam. We did not give it (amount of Rs 35.5 lakh) to the Trust account, as it would go to the common pool," they said.
Image: A poster of Sathya Sai Baba
The money was meant for 'Maha Samadhi'
"Since we all had a strong desire to contribute specifically for the Maha Samadhi, we decided to make the payment for the marble purchase and other works related to the construction. As a matter of protocol, we informed one of the trustees and requested to take the money to the Mandir to place at Bhagwan (Sathya Sai Baba's) chair for blessings and hand over the money to the contractor," they said.
The devotees said they were given to understand that the movement of this amount was "obstructed due to misapprehension that the amount is not accounted for. With this clarification, we request that this amount be released for the utilisation of the purpose it was meant to be."
Image: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi pay their last respects to Sai Baba
Driver of vehicle detained
The police had seized the four-wheeler late on Sunday night during checking at Kodikonda checkpost in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, bordering Karnataka.
They had detained its driver, who was interrogated over the source and destination of the seized cash. The Chilamattur police had also registered a case over the seizure of the cash.
Image: Sathya Sai Baba's body lies in state