Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) former chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu, who was forced to retire by the temple authorities, has said that a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against him was an attempt to “silence those who spoke against corruption”.
United News of India reported that the former chief minister, addressing a media conference, termed the defamation notice “inappropriate”.
Deekshitulu had to retire after the TTD board reduced the retirement age following the priest’s allegation that the temple’s antique jewellery, worth crores of rupees, had been misappropriated. He has been demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the affairs of the TTD. He had also alleged that the temple funds were being diverted.
During the media conference, Deekshitulu charged the N Chandrababu Naidu Government in Andhra Pradesh with excavating the land under the Tirumala temple’s kitchen (Srivari Pottu) to unearth hidden treasures.
The Tirupati Tirumala temple has been in the news ever since the Andhra Pradesh Government nominated a non-Hindu to the temple’s board. The nominated member later resigned after a hue and cry was raised.
Chandrababu Naidu has dismissed the allegations as attempts by the Narendra Modi Government to control the temple affairs from New Delhi.
The TTD episode has renewed demand for freeing temples from government controls. The Shankaracharya of Puri, in an interview to Swarajya Magazine, said donations made to temples should not be diverted for other purposes.
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