Chennai/Nellore: About 1,400 kgs gold belonging to Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati was seized by election squad manning a check post at Vepambattu in Tiruvallur while it was being taken in a truck to Tirumala on Wednesday. Four persons have been detained.
"We have verified the gold belongs to TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam). It will be released soon", DGP (Elections) Ashutosh Shukla told DC late evening.
TTD Executive Officer Anil Singhal told reporters at Tirupati that the Devasthanam had deposited 8,500 kilos of gold, from the offerings made by the devotees over a period of time, in the Andhra Bank and the Punjab National Bank sometime back. He said a letter was sent to PNB to return the gold to TTD treasury since the deposit matured 20 days back and a renewal was not considered since the interest offered by the bank was not satisfactory.
PNB officials also confirmed to the media that the gold seized by the TN poll officials was backed by "proper documents" of the bank and the TTD, and these papers would be submitted to the Tiruvallur Collector "first thing in the morning" to facilitate the early release of the "Lord's property to his abode".
The bank officials also said they had taken up the issue "with the Election Commission also". A police source at Chennai said while it was true that the gold belonged to TTD, it was actually in the form of biscuits and came from Switzerland. It was possible that the gold offerings in Tirumala was sent to the PNB, which in turn dispatched it to Switzerland for conversion into gold biscuits for safe keeping in the bank or the TTD treasury as the clients choose....