PUTTAPARTHI: Amid growing apprehensions about a protracted struggle to control the powerful Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, the trustees on Thursday tried to present a united front saying that a new chairman would be elected soon as Sathya Sai Baba had neither left a will nor named any successor. Two Trust members would also be given the power to sign cheques in place of the ‘godman’.
Addressing their maiden press conference in 20 years at the Sathya Sai Indoor Stadium here, the trustees also played down reports about Baba’s ill-health saying there was nothing to suggest that anything was “extraordinarily wrong” prior to March 28 and that he was in his full senses till admission to the super-speciality hospital. They also sought to bury the casket controversy with Trust member Venu Srinivasan (ex-CII boss) asserting: “The casket arrived only after the Baba had passed away. We never ordered any casket in the first place.”
On the future course of action, Srinivasan said: “The election of the chairman may happen next week when the trustees and the council of management meet in Puttaparthi.” Baba’s nephew R J Rathnakar — the only one from the Baba’s family who is on the Trust board — also said that a decision on this would be taken soon. But the trustees ruled out adding more members to the Trust, including Baba’s caregiver Satyajit, who, the trustees said, was just an employee picked by the ‘godman’ to attend to his personal needs. “Baba never took a decision to induct Satyajit into the Trust,” Srinivasan said.