Where Are Tirupati Tirumala Temple’s Old Invaluable Jewels, Asks Chief Priest; Alleges Funds Diversion

Where Are Tirupati Tirumala Temple’s Old Invaluable Jewels, Asks Chief Priest; Alleges Funds DiversionTirumala Tirupati Temple ( Daimalu/wiki commons)

The Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD) board is in the news for wrong reasons yet again. The Tirumala temple head priest has alleged that there have been irregularities in TTD governance which as reported by The Indian Express has led to a open war between the TTD administration and its priests.

Tirumala head priest A V Ramana Dikshitulu has alleged that that the administrators failed to uphold the ethos and sanctity of the temple, indulging in impropriety and corruption.

At a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday (15 May) Dikshitulu alleged that the administration lacked commitment,and that he suspected that the temple funds could have been diverted and some valuable ancient jewels misappropriated.

The daily quoted the head priest as saying that they (hereditary priests) have been become helpless after 1996 when the Andhra Pradesh Government took over the reins of the temple’s administration. He alleged that these days only new jewellery was being handed over by the administrators to adorn the presiding deity of the temple, wondering what happened to the old and invaluable ones.

Demanding an open audit of the jewels and maintenance of digital records, he said only a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation will reveal the truth on how temple funds were being utilised.

Dikshitulu said that the administration was intervening in cases of VIP darshans and shortening rituals besides indulging in crass commercialisation of the temple. Attacking the administrators for their lack of respect for the agama sastra(scripture defining temple traditions and rituals), he said the traditional priests were being put to a lot of hardships with their privileges being snatched.

The issue has now been taken up with President Ram Nath Govind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Justice of India Deepak Mishra.

This comes after the temple administration courted a controversy last month when a non-Hindu was appointed on the Board of trustees for the temple. The trustee opted out of the board after questions were raised over her faith.