Sathya Sai trust asked to pay electricity arrears


Hyderabad : In fresh trouble for Sathya Sai Central Trust, the Andhra Pradesh Transmission Corporation (AP Transco) Friday issued it a notice asking it to pay Rs.3.5 crore towards electricity charges.

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The corporation asked the trust, which manages the affairs of the vast spiritual empire of late Sathya Sai Baba, to pay the arrears for electricity consumed by the super-specialty hospital and other institutions run by it in Puttaparthi town.

The corporation officials said as the government had not paid subsidy towards the electricity supplied to the trust since last year, they had directed the trust to clear the dues.

This is seen as another indication of the state government withdrawing privileges, subsidies and exemptions enjoyed by the trust when Sathya Sai Baba was alive.

The spiritual guru died on April 24 at the age of 85.

AP Transco’s move comes at a time the trust is surrounded by controversies following the seizure of Rs.35 lakh by police last month. The cash was was being transported from Sathya Sai Baba’s ashram Prashanti Nilayam to Bangalore.

Police are continuing their probe into the seizure notwithstanding claims by the trust that the money was donated by a group of devotees for building Sathya Sai Baba’s ‘samadhi’, or memorial.

Following allegations by a section of devotees that the trust members were involved in financial irregularities, the government last month sought a detailed report from the trust on its activities and finances.

This was the first time since the trust was formed in 1972 that the government had intervened in its affairs.

The government is reportedly planning to withdraw various exemptions enjoyed by the trust under the Endowments Act. It is also considering demands from some sections to take over the trust or at least set up a committee to monitor its functioning.