The Andhra Pradesh Police on Sunday seized R35.5 lakh from a car belonging to the Sathya Sai Central Trust, which manages the affairs of the late spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba.
The police seized the cash at Bagepally toll-gate near Hindupur town in Anantapur district and arrested one person, Harishnanda Shetty. He reportedly told the police that a trust official had given him the money.
The police said Shetty would be taken to Puttaparthi for questioning.
“The car was confiscated during checking at Kodikonda checkpost under Chilamanthur police station limits bordering Karnataka,” Anantapur district superintendent of police Shah Nawaz Qasim said.
The money was seized two days after the trust opened Yajur Mandir, the residence of the Sai Baba at Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthi. The trust said on Friday it had found R11.56 crore in cash, 98 kg gold and gold jewellery and 307 kg of silver articles inside Yajur Mandir.
The arrest and recovery of money has confirmed fears of a section of devotees that huge amounts of cash and jewellery might have been siphoned out of Yajur Mandir when Sai Baba was hospitalised. The spiritual guru passed away on April 24.
Soon after the cash seizure, the police in Puttaparthi started checking vehicles at all exit points. They reportedly seized two bags from a bus passenger, but it was not immediately known if they contained cash.
The state government said it would intervene if the trust did not discharge its responsibilities properly.
(With agency inputs)