Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) head priest Ramana Dikshitulu has alleged that the state government and the temple administration are mishandling temple affairs. The head priest had demanded a CBI probe into the role of the state government and temple board in the alleged case of corruption.
“It’s unfortunate that we (hereditary priests), who for generations dedicated ourselves to temple service, are so helpless today. Until 1996, we were custodians of the Lord’s jewellery and maintained up-to-date records of the inventory. But, in the 22 years since Andhra government took over the reins, not once has the jewellery count been done. Of late, only the newer jewellery is given to adorn the Lord. What happened to the ancient ornaments? An open audit should be done. Digital records should be made for transparency,” he said.
The controversy comes merely a month after a non-Hindu was appointed on the Board of Trustees for the temple. The opposition had also lashed out at Chandrababu Naidu for his role in this alleged corruption.
Following the allegations levelled by the head priest, he was made to retire and was subsequently replaced by the Temple board.
Now, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy has taken to Twitter to assert that the dismissal of the head priest by the TTD Board was grossly illegal and that he will move the Supreme Court to quash the sacking and also to appeal for a court-monitored CBI probe into the financial misappropriation of temple funds by the Tirumala Tirupati board.
I have decided after seeing the grossly illegal exercise of power of TTD in sacking the Head Priest Ramana Dikshitalu. Hence I will move the SC for quashing the sacking and seek also a Court monitored CBI investigation into the financial misappropriation of Temple funds by TTD
— Subramanian Swamy (@Swamy39) May 21, 2018
Ramana Dikshitulu also asserted that he was being victimised for meeting BJP President Amit Shah and showing him how hidden treasures were being stolen. He said, “As a head priest according to the protocol system, I have to receive any dignitary visiting the temple, maybe a President of India, Vice President of India or Prime Minister or Chief Justice of India or the governor or the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. But when Amit Shah came and I showed him the kitchen around and told him what happen there. See .. how it will be, it is carried by the CM and in the light of political turmoil of the state that I have been victimized for meeting Amit Shah and explaining to him everything.”
With the controversy gathering steam, it remains to be seen what steps are taken by the government and if the Supreme Court is moved for a probe into fund misappropriation.