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'Money belongs to Sai baba devotees'

delhi Updated: Jun 27, 2011 01:20 IST

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Late Sathya Sai Baba's nephew RJ Ratnakar, who was on Saturday questioned by police in connection with the seizure of Rs 35.5 lakh in cash, on Sunday said the money belonged to the "devotees" but refused to elaborate more.

"This 35 lakh belongs to devotees. Now that this is in the court and investigation is on, more details cannot be told," he said.

The cash was recovered a day after Sai Baba's personal chamber Yajur Mandir was opened and it was disclosed that it contained 98 kg of gold, 307 kg of silver, apart from Rs 11.56 crore.

Ratnakar refuted as "mud-slinging" and "totally false" allegations that trust members were trying to siphon out funds.

A section of devotees alleged that the trust was either concealing Sai Baba's vast wealth or much of it had already been shipped out of Prashanti Nilayam when the spiritual guru was battling for life in hospital.

"None of us... We are incapable of doing such things. We have dedicated our lives at the lotus feet of the Bhagwan Baba," he said, adding there are "disgruntled" people who are spreading such allegations.

He said the Sathya Sai trust is the "most transparent" trust and they go by all statutory requirements.

He also dismissed suggestions that there was a rift between members of the trust as some had come through influence, saying the trust was constituted last year and all came to the board together.

"Whoever has come to the trust were handpicked by Bhagwan (Sathya Sai)and I don't think anybody could have influenced for others," he said.

He said he was not "aware" about the one hour delay in taking Sathya Sai Baba to hospital soon after he fell ill and denied that the arrival of 'rahu kaalam' had come in the way from taking him to hospital.

Another trust member V Srinivas is likely to appear before police Monday. Sai Baba passed away at the age of 85 April 24.