With the controversy surrounding the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) refusing to die down, the temple board's executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal on Tuesday met with Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrbabau Naidu at the Interim Government Complex in Velagapudi.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the EO said that all the jewellery and ornaments of the deity atop Tirumala were safe and intact as per the Tiruvabharanam Register of 1952.
He also reiterated the board's stand that it was ready to publicly display the jewellery amid tight security if the chief priests at the temple agreed to the move.
Responding to allegations of a particular pink diamond, Singhal said that there was no such gem, and claimed that it was a ruby.
āIt is a ruby. It was damaged when devotees from Maharashtra threw stones during a procession in Tirumala,ā he was quoted as saying.
As far as allegations levelled against the temple over 'illegal' construction works without permission, the EO told reporters, āSmall repairs are taken up from time to time on the advice of āAgamaā advisors. Recent repairs were done for replacing a few bricks near the kitchen stove. No structural change was made. Even before carrying out that repair works, advise of the resident āAgamaā Advisor Sundaravadana Bhatacharyulu was taken."
According to media reports, the TTD is also mulling legal action against former chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu.
This comes even as opposition parties and several groups who have backed Deekshitulu, have been demanding a CBI probe into the allegations levelled by the ex-chief priest.
Ramana, who had been critical of the TTD administration at a recent press conference held in Chennai, made shocking allegations that the authorities were corrupt and that several ornaments belonging to the temple, particularly old jewellery, were missing. Claiming that the activities of the TTD authorities were fishy and non-transparent, he demanded an open audit on the ornaments and donations received by the temple. He also asked for a higher inquiry into the alleged financial irregularities.
Subsequently, the chief priest was sacked on Friday by the authorities on grounds that he exceeded the retirement age limit. Three other priests who also crossed the retirement age were shunted.
āI have decided after seeing the grossly illegal exercise of power of TTD in sacking the Head Priest Ramana Dikshitalu. Hence I will move the SC for quashing the sacking and seek also a Court monitored CBI investigation into the financial misappropriation of Temple funds by TTD,ā BJP MP Subramanian Swamy earlier tweeted.