Several leaders of the ruling TDP government in Andhra Pradesh lashed out at Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD) chief priest AV Ramana Deekshitulu and said that he was 'tarnishing the reputation' of the temple atop Tirumala.
This came after Deekshitulu made shocking allegations that the administrators of the temple were swindling money and also ruining the sanctity of the Hindu temple, which attracts lakhs of devotees every day.
Demanding an open audit to know how much donation the temple receives and how the authorities spend it, the chief priest had said that a probe should be initiated into alleged financial irregularities.
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.
Stating that the Justice Jagannatha Rao Committee and the Justice Wadhwa Committee had not not found any financial irregularities, Krishnamurthy told reporters, â€śIt 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."
Meanwhile, TDP leader and national spokesperson K Ramamohan Rao also addressed a press conference, saying, â€śThere are doubts that the BJP and the YSRCP are behind Ramana Deekshitulu. It is unfortunate that he is levelling allegations against the temple, being a head priest. The sanctity of the temple is at stake.â€ť
Addressing the media earlier this week in Chennai, Deekshitulu disclosed that the priests have filed a petition against the administrators demanding transparency pertaining to donations and jewellery, and also to bring the TTD administration under the ambit of the Right to Information Act.
â€śWe have submitted a representation to the Chief Justice of India, President, Prime Minister and CM of Andhra Pradesh, demanding transparency,â€ť he said.
Besides these allegations of financial irregularities, Deekshitulu also faulted the authorities for interfering in the appointment of archakas (priests). He accused them of bypassing TTD guidelines and shuffling the priests as per their whim and appointing priests whom they favour.