The Hyderabad High Court on Thursday directed the Executive Officer of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and the Andhra Pradesh government to file counter affidavits on a PIL which sought a CBI probe into 'missing jewels' at the Venkateswara temple atop Tirumala.
Anil Kumar Borugadda, a Guntur-based financial consultant, along with another petitioner, Bhupendra Goswami from Gujarat, had filed the petition.
After issuing the notices, the bench posted the matter to August 28 for further hearing.
In May, Ramana Deekshithulu, the former chief priest of TTD, made a shocking claim that several old precious jewels were missing from Tirumala. He also alleged financial irregularities by the TTD, besides stating that the TTD authorities with scant regard for the heritage monument were vandalising it.
He demanded that the TTD should be brought under the ambit of RTI for transparency in its functioning.
Following his allegations, he was sacked from the TTD on grounds of exceeding the retirement age of 65. However, Deekshithulu continued making the allegations, inviting a Rs 100 crore defamation suit from the TTD.
Meanwhile, TTD authorities have rubbished the allegations made by Deekshithulu, citing several enquiry reports over the decades, that claimed that the jewels were intact.
Responding to his allegations in a press meet, AP Deputy Chief Minister K E Krishnamurthy who is also the state's Endowments Minister, launched a scathing attack against the chief priest.
Krishnamurthy told reporters, â€œIt seems Deekshitulu has left his traditional job and entered into politics. He behaved irresponsibly, and in a manner that tarnished the reputation of the temple. The government will take a serious note of this issue. It is against the rules of the temple for a chief priest to hold a press conference and talk politics."