In yet another major move, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Trust Board on Tuesday removed the former Tirumala chief priest AV Ramana Deekshitulu, from his post as a member of the Agama Advisory Board.
Deekshitulu was replaced by incumbent chief priest Venugopala Deekshitulu, who had succeeded the latter after the ongoing controversy broke out.
Deekshitulu. who was one of four chief priests with complete access to the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord Venkateswara temple, was also considered an authority on the agamas (scriptures).
Due to this, he was also part of the Advisory Board, which is consulted before the TTD takes a decision.
Deekshithulu was sacked in May by authorities on the grounds that he exceeded the retirement age limit.
However, this unceremonious sacking came after he levelled shocking allegations against the TTD administration of financial irregularities, and also raised suspicion that several precious ornaments from the temple were missing.
As he failed to budge and continued making the allegations, the TTD later slapped him with a Rs 100 crore defamation notice.
While the TTD authorities have rubbished the allegations made by Deekshithulu, they were reluctant to show the precious ornaments donated over the centuries, claiming that the Agama Shastra doesnât permit them to put the ornaments on display.
Earlier this week, TTD joint executive officer K S Srinivasa Raju also lashed out at the ex-chief priest and said that the latter was âruining his own reputationâ.
Responding to the allegations that jewellery went missing from the temple, Raju said that there were officials in the TTD who regularly checked the inventory in an orderly manner and recorded the entire process.
âWhen the temple remains open for nearly 22-and-a-half-hours a day, with not less than 65,000 pilgrims having darshan of the Lord, the allegations on safety of jewels do not arise and are totally baseless,â Raju was quoted as saying.
He also accused Deekshitulu of being informed of the facts, but intentionally misleading the public.
However, just days ago, TTD chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav informed reporters that all the jewellery would be put on display for the media on June 28, so that they can see the deliberate misinformation being spread about TTD.