Tirupati police investigating the theft of three missing golden crowns from the Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple on Saturday night, suspect that it is an insider job. The price of these crowns with a combined weight of nearly 4 kg is estimated at Rs 1.5 crore.
On Sunday, the temple staff found the three crowns belonging to the deities missing following which they lodged a complaint with the Tirupati East police.
Tirupati SP Anburajan told media that the theft must have been committed by insiders and that they could be either employees or contract staff. "Even if stolen by an outsider, the accused still needs some basic information and has to conduct a recee. For this also, knowingly or unknowingly, the temple staff must have shared the information," New Indian Express quoted the SP as saying.
Meanwhile, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Executive Officer, Anil Kumar Singhal, who visited the temple on Sunday following the incident, told media that all the 15 CCTVs were functional. He further added that they have handed over the CCTV footage to the police for investigation.
Govindaraja Swamy temple is located in Chittoor district. It is an ancient Vaishnavite temple.
The theft came to light when the temple staff noticed that the three crowns had gone missing on the eve of commencement of the weekly temple procession. The temple was closed at 5pm for devotees and was opened again at 5.45pm when one of the priests in the 18 sub-temples of the Govindaraja Swamy temple found that the crowns were missing.
TTD is the official trust managing all activities of the Govindaraja Swamy temple.