Income tax laws should have been applied to Sai Baba’s treasure seizure last month, with specific reference to the section 132 of the Income Tax Act, dealing with unaccounted wealth/money. The Sai Trust claimed ownership of that money, even though none of it had been accounted and was largely in cash, gold and diamonds the origin of which was not accounted anywhere and was – they claimed – previously completely unknown to the Trustees.
India TV posted an article entitled “Sathya Sai Trust Issue Gets Murkier, Rs 35.5 Lakh Cash Donations Accepted” in which it says:-
‘Sathya Sai Central Trust members R J Ratnakar (Sathya Sai’s nephew) and V Srinivasan accepted cash amounting to Rs 35.50 lakh in violation of Income-Tax laws as well as the Trust’s own guidelines to accept donations above Rs 5,000 by cheque only, says a media report.’ ‘Ratnakar had at first stated that it was not Trust’s money. After accepting the cash, neither Ratnakar nor any of the Trust members gave the devotees receipts for the money they had donated, nor was it recorded in cash or account books of the Trust in gross violation of the Trust’s guidelines for financial propriety.’
‘The police had filed FIR in this case under Sections 69 and 132 of the Income-Tax Act besides IPC sections. “We stand vindicated today. It is unaccounted money and with their statements Ratnakar and Srinivasan acknowledged they violated their own Trust’s guidelines not to accept cash donations, and Income-Tax laws. We have forwarded our findings to I-T department and it is up to them to take action against the Trust,” Anantapur SP Shahnawaz Qasim said on Monday evening.
The crucial consequence of the above is that, if the Rs 35 lakhs seized is “black money” and attracts IT and criminal laws under sec 132, then what about the 100 kg gold, 300 kg silver and also Rs 12 crores cash seized earlier? They also come exactly under the same category. How was the Sathya Sai trust allowed to keep the entire wealth and , even worse, pay “advance tax ” of Rs 9.7 crores and legitimize the illegal wealth and claim it ? Even that “discovered” wealth had no documents and were in violation of all laws of IT dept as well as Sathya Sai trust’s charter. In this connection see the article Sathya Sai Trust’s V.Srinivasan’s story falls down on at least three counts
Sathya Sai Central Trust to publish annual accounts: Despite long have claimed in many public statements tht all the transactions of the Trust were open to inspection and that the Trust was entirely transparent, the lie has been uncovered so thoroughly that the Sai Trust has had to bite the bullet and announce a sea change, even though it may prove to be inadequate for proper public scrutiny of the dealing within the Trust in future. However, the Trust are famous for having made promises in this connection before, but have broken them, so we shall have to wait and see whether they keep this one… on Sai Baba’s next birthday anniversary (why wait so long?).