The discovery of a huge treasure trove hidden in caches throughout
Sai Baba's private rooms raises the question: 'Whose is that wealth?'

by Serguei Badaev, former President of the Moscow Centre of the Sathya Sai Organization

After the death of Sathya Sai Baba, which was officially declared April 24, 2011, the most important event is undoubtedly the discovery in the rooms of Sathya Sai Baba of cash, gold and other valuables worth about 300 million rupees.This was said by trustees of the Sathya Sai Central Trust at a press conference June 28, 2011. These valuables were found June 16 in the presence of some witnesses, when the rooms of Sathya Sai Baba were first opened since his hospitalization. It took two days to count the currency and valuables, whereupon the Sathya Sai Central Trust Fund added the value to their bank account and even paid a huge tax at the rate of about 95 million rupees, though no one demanded it. Here is a brief list of what was found in the rooms:

Cash - 115 crore rupees.
Gold - 98 kg (statues of deities, six crowns adorned with diamonds, necklaces, rings, etc.)
Silver - 307 kgs.
Precious stones - Cloth bags with diamonds.
Gifts - 100 suitcases full of gifts from devotees, including works of art, cameras and clocks).
Clothing - 750 long silk robes of orange and white.
Shoes - 500 pairs, including Nike and Adidas trainers.
And another thing ...

The most important question that has not yet attracted enough attention is the question of who rightly owns this money. The Central Trust's default answer to this question is that this is to be regarded as donations to Sathya Sai Baba for his Trust. However, under the Charter of the Trust, Sathya Sai Baba was not entitled to receive cash or any other tangible assets as donations. All the money and valuables, which come as donations to the Ffund were to be deposited by cheque in a bank. However, by making these goods the property of the Central Trust, the fund condones Sai Baba's illegal receivership and violates its own Charter. These large scale financial irregularities are quite sufficient reason for full or partial control of the Trust by the government, or even for the criminal investigation of financial fraud. The huge tax rate of more than 30% of the total value of the recovered valuable that the Fund has hastily paid to the Treasury of Andhra Pradesh is highly suspicious. If this money belonged to the person of Sathya Sai Baba, as is obvious from the way it was stored and guarded by him so carefully, then it must be admitted that there is misappropriation of property by the Trust. In this case, relatives, but not the Trust, are probably entitled to these goods as inheritance. However, if we consider that this money was in fact intended as donations to charity, then the relatives of Sathya Sai Baba could not benefit by making it their personal property.

In any case, the question of ownership entails the question of the origin of these goods. It is known that Sathya Sai Baba has repeatedly claimed that he did not accept gifts or personal donations. How, then,could he have accumulated so much privately in his room, where items were even hidden within his king-sized bed? Does this mean that he did not trust the other members of the Fund and thus tried at least partially to control the wealth? Or was the Trust aware of the illegal accumulation of wealth? How long has the hoarding gone on? Who are these people that made the sacrifice of wealth and did they know the fate of their donations?

These issues will continue as a permanent and indelible stain on those involved. Even if we never receive the full answers to them, it is obvious that the wealth is of unknown origin and assigning it to the CentralTrust Sathya Sai Baba by the Central Trust itself is illegal. The entire situation calls for thorough investigation.