M A I N   N E W S

Efforts on to ensure smooth succession
Rift in the all-powerful Sathya Sai Central Trust
Suresh Dharur
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, April 23
As the health condition of the renowned Godman Sathya Sai Baba continues to be very critical, the Andhra Pradesh government has stepped up its efforts to ensure smooth succession in the multi-crore spiritual empire he has created over the last six decades.

Amidst reports of a rift in the all-powerful Sathya Sai Central Trust, whose opaque functioning has evoked public criticism, the government has taken up a facilitator role to set the house in order keeping in view the sentiments of millions of Baba’s devotees spread across the world.

Apart from deputing a team of government doctors to coordinate with the specialists treating the spiritual leader, the Major Industries Minister Dr J Geetha Reddy and Finance Secretary LV Subramanyam have been sent to Puttaparthi to hold consultations with the Trust authorities on a continuous basis to resolve the reported internal tussle for control over the organisation whose properties are estimated to be worth over Rs 1.50 lakh crore.

A crucial coordination meeting was held at Puttaparthi today which was attended by the representatives of the government, Sathya Sai Trust and the doctors of Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medicine. Apart from taking stock of the health condition of Baba and the administrative measures at the pilgrim to meet any eventuality, the meeting was said to have discussed about the organisational issues confronting - Prashanthi Nilayam, the spiritual abode of Baba.

According to sources, the government representatives advised the Trust members to be more transparent in their dealings and share the details with public.

There is a widespread criticism over lack of transparency in the functioning of the Trust which controls a global network of spiritual, social and philanthropic activities initiated by Baba. The details of the finances of the Trust, flow of donations and how they are spent are not available in the public domain while the Trust members are out of bounds for the media.

A veil of secrecy surrounds the functioning of the nine-member Trust which includes former Chief Justice of Supreme Court PN Bhagvathi, former Vice-Chancellor SV Giri, Indulal Shah and retired IAS officer K Chakravarthi who is the secretary. Baba’s nephew RJ Ratnakar is the sole representative from the family on the trust board. There are reports of differences between the family members of the 85-year-old Baba and the authorities of the Trust.

There has been a flurry of reports in the local media about the alleged succession war in the close-knit organisation. The tussle is over who should lead the organisation in the post-Baba scenario and who should have the cheque power. At present, Baba is the chairman of the Trust. He and the Trust Secretary Chakravarthi have the cheque power. The row is said to have erupted between Satyajit, a close personal aide of Baba, and Ratnakar who represents the interests of Baba’s family. The official sources said that a compromise formula has been worked out under which both Satyajit and Ratnakar will have a say in running the Trust in future.

Meanwhile, a medical bulletin said that Baba’s vital organs, including heart, liver, kidneys and lungs, were not responding to the treatment. He has been kept on ventilator support and CRRT (Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy).

“Considering his present critical condition, we cannot say what will happen tomorrow,” said the Director of Medical Education Dr Ravi.





Sachin unlikely to celebrate birthday

New Delhi: Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Saturday joined the thousands of devotees praying for a speedy recovery of Shri Sathya Sai Baba, whose condition continues to remain very critical.

Asking his fans to pray for the well-being of Sathya Sai Baba, Tendulkar, an ardent follower of Sathya Sai Baba, tweeted, “I m praying for Sathya Sai Baba's quick recovery. Hope everyone will join me in praying for his return to good health.”

There are also reports that Tendulkar may not celebrate his 38th birthday on Sunday. — PTI





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