5 Cars and 5 Questions


By: Serguei Badaev

Email: badaev57@mtu-net.ru

Date: April 22, 2006 

It is well known that recently SSB has presented 5 cars to some of his close devotees for their work. This information is found on an official SSB site at


(Link not available anymore ? Click here !)



(Link not available anymore ? Click here !)

(The five recipients are named and their positions are listed at the end of this article.) 

This incident raises a number of questions which, even though cannot be easily answered, are worth being put. 

(1) Why were the cars presented to those particular five members and not others?

Are they the most needy?  

(2) Who decided to make these gifts? Was it a personal decision of SSB or a collective decision of some group in control of Trust finances? Since SSB has often stated that he does not interfere in the trust which bears his name other than to sign cheques, was he therefore just an instrument in this drama? 

(3) Why were the cars presented, not anything else?

Nobody of the gifts recipients seems to be a poor person by Indian standards. Cannot they buy cars themselves? Have not they had cars before? One can hardly believe that. At least in 1999 I remember Mr. Chakravarthi driving a car. It seems to be a new trend in SSB's gifts: from the reported spiritual gifts of his legendary youth, to jewellery trinkets of his adulthood, to new brand cars of his old age. Strange indeed that SSB, who is a spiritual teacher for his followers, presented such expensive worldly gifts to his closest assistants!   

(4) Why were those cars presented publicly?

Quite probably most of those who witnessed the ceremony of presentation knew very little or perhaps nothing about those 5 people and their work. So they could not judge really how deserved they were of those gifts. Apparently SSB could understand, if he is a spiritual teacher as his followers believe, that such public ceremonies can inflate "ego" of gift recipients and inflame envy in witnesses. So all that looks like a typical PR action. 

(5) What money did SSB use to buy those 5 cars?

SSB, according to his own words, has no property and no money. Perhaps he may claim to have materialised those 5 luxurious cars. But if he materialised them privately, he could have presented them privately as well. Since he evidently wanted to attract public attention to the presentation, why didn't he materialise them publicly? Well, I am afraid there are very few people who dare to believe that SSB materialised those cars. Most probably they were bought and may cost up to altogether about $150,000 . But if they were bought with the money of the Central Trust it may be considered as an abuse of charity money which was donated to SSB and his Central Trust for various charity projects not for gifts to the members of the Trust. One may think that the cars were not bought but were donated. If so it is still very confusing that SSB accepts the donations that cannot be used for any charity purposes. 

The five recipients of these expensive presents are: 

(1) A. Ramakrishna now retired, former Vice-President of ECC (a part of the Larsen & Toubro Group) which received many huge, lucrative contracts from the Sai Central Trust.  

(2) Kondal Rao, Senior Technical Consultant to Govt. of Andhra Pradesh for the Sri Sathya Sai Water Supply Project, and also the Chief Engineer supervising the Chennai Water Supply Project. 

(3) K. Chakravarthi, Head of the Prashanthi Nilayam ashram, Secretary of the Central Trust K. Chakravarthi, Secretary of the Central Trust.  

(4) Dr. G. Venkataraman, a former Vice-Chancellor of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. He currently teaches at the Institute and is Director of the Prashanti Digital Studio and Radio Sai Global Harmony.

(5) K.R.Paramahamsa, IAS (Retd.), who has held various positions in SSB’s institutions and who is presently in charge of the ‘Deena Janoddharana Pathakamu’, the home for destitute children established by SSB.