A probe had found that the ads by the Minorities Department had been printed before the Andhra Assembly Elections this year.

AP official suspended after ads for Hajj Jerusalem pilgrimage on Tirupati bus tickets
news Controversy Monday, August 26, 2019 - 10:14

Days after an unusual advertisement of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem was found on the back of an Andhra Pradesh Road Transport Corporation (APSTRC) bus ticket, which was plying from Tirumala to Tirupati, an official has been suspended for the fiasco. 

The APSRTC on Sunday said that it had taken a serious view of the matter and initiated an internal inquiry, which found the Controller of Stores in Nellore, M Jagadeesh Babu, guilty “for negligence and dereliction of duties."

Stating that his actions had caused "serious embarrassment to the government”, the internal probe found that the advertisements had been printed before the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into place earlier this year.

However, once the MCC was lifted, the APSRTC said that the Controller of Stores failed to notice the contents of the advertisements issued by the Minorities Department, and supplied them to the Tirupati depot.

Therefore, the official was suspended, pending further disciplinary proceedings.

The advertisements which had triggered a row, spoke about a 'holy Jerusalem tour' for Christians in the state, while another set of tickets issued to passengers on their way to Tirupati, saw advertisements for the state's annual Hajj pilgrimage offered to Muslims.

As the issue escalated last week, the Chief Minister's Office was quick to respond, issuing a statement which quoted Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas saying, "We immediately ordered an inquiry into the matter and found that the tickets were printed during the previous TDP government's term."

The statement added that the tickets, which were supposed to be issued in Nellore, had come to Tirupati depot in Chittor district.

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