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‘India’s Hindu religious places have become a den of loot’: Congress leader levels bribery allegation against Tirupati temple, TTD denies

"It was clearly seen in the video taken by the staff how the woman behaved in an arrogant manner using filthy words against the staff. She was also seen pushing and hitting an on-duty staff member," the temple authority pointed out about the police inquiry.

On Monday (September 5), Congress leader and ‘Miss Bikini India 2018’ Archana Gautam courted controversy after she accused the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) staff of soliciting ₹10,000 bribe for the darshan of Lord Venkateshwara.

In a tweet, she claimed, “Hindu religious places in India have become the den of loot. In the name of Dharma, TTD employees misbehave with women. Action must be taken against them. I appeal to the Andhra government. They are taking ₹10500 in the name of VIP darshan. Stop the loot.”

The Congress leader had also uploaded a video wherein she was seen misbehaving and physically assaulting TTD staff members. “Just shut up”, she yelled at one of the employees. Archana Gautam alleged that she was denied entry into the temple premises despite having a valid ticket.

She accused the TTD administration of trying to charge her ₹10,000. “God will punish you,” the Congress leader cursed after creating a spectacle. Archa Gautam also sought the urgent intervention of the Jaganmohan Reddy-led Andhra government.

TTD slams Congress leader for her untrue claims

Following an uproar over the incident, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam condemned the attack on its employees and issued a clarification into the matter. In a tweet, it said, “TTD vehemently refutes the untrue claims made by actress Archana Gautam.”

The TTD administration informed that a man named Shivakant Tiwari from Uttar Pradesh, Archana Gautam and 7 others came to the temple with a letter from the Union Minister for Darshan on August 30.

“They registered in the Additional EO Office at Tirumala for Darshan. Later they were allotted Rs.300 tickets on this Referral letter and an SMS in this regard was delivered to the mobile number of Sri Tiwari,” it added.

However, their tickets expired since they did not avail the darshan on time. It was communicated to Tiwari after he sought darshan on August 31, 2022.

“In the meantime, Ms Archana Goutham rushed into the office and began shouting at the staff uttering unparliamentary words against them. Sri Tiwari was also seen as a mute spectator watching the entire high drama created by his team member,” TTD said.

The temple administration tried to apprise the Congress leader of the existing rules but it was in vain.

“Though the TTD staff tried to explain the rule position and pacify her, she turned deaf and even manhandled one of the on duty office staff members. At last, the Office staff have allotted them Rs.300 tickets for the second time and advised them to go for Darshan,” TTD clarified.

However, Archana Gautam instead filed a complaint with the police, accusing a TTD employee of abusing and manhandling her.

“It was clearly seen in the video taken by the staff that how the woman behaved in an arrogant manner using filthy words against the staff. She was also seen pushing and hitting an on-duty staff member,” the temple authority pointed out about the police inquiry.

“When the lady insisted on Break Darshan, the office staff advised her to take SRIVANI Trust and go for VIP break darshan on September 1 for which she needs to pay Rs.10,500 (Rs.10,000 to SRIVANI Trust and Rs.500 for the VIP Break ticket),” it added.

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam accused Archana Gautam of falsely claiming that the Additional EO Office staff sought ₹10,000 for her ticket. It has urged the devotees to not fall for the baseless allegations of the Congress leader.

In January this year, the Congress party announced its first list of 125 candidates for the UP assembly elections. The party had nominated 50 women in the first list, which included Tamil actress Archana Gautam.

The model turned actress joined the Congress party in November 2021, and within just two months, she was given a ticket to contest assembly polls. Interestingly, she had joined the party twice in that month.

While several people were inducted into the party on November 26 in Lucknow, Archana Gautam complained that she was not given proper respect during the event. Archana Gautam had alleged that while Chhatisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and party general secretary Pramod Tiwari were present at the stage, there was no special mention of her.

After she made her displeasure known, Bhupesh Baghel organised a separate event at a hotel, where he was staying.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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