Tirupati: Does the “Raj Pink’’, the largest fancy intense pink diamond in the world, which failed to go under the hammer in Geneva last November, actually belong to Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam (TTD)?
The Raj Pink, the rare 37.3 carat stone, was the highlight of the Sotheby’s sale of precious jewels. Lord Venkateswara temple chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu, who has been served notice to leave, on Friday alleged that it belonged to the temple, and wanted a thorough enquiry into the missing jewels at TTD.
He said that the Mysore Maharaja had donated the platinum necklace studded with pink diamond, the rarest of the rare variety of diamonds. He recalled adorning the jewel on the Balaji idol till 2001. He said the Chief Vigilance Officer, an IPS officer, had recorded the missing pink diamond in the registers as broken due to throwing of coins at the idol by devotees. The chief priest expressed surprised at how a broken piece was found in the inventory held by an international auction house.
He said that jewellery donated by kings including the emperor Krishna-devaraya, the Mysore maharajas and those of the Pallava and Chola dynasties could not be found. The idol at Tirumala is decorated only with latest Jewellery offerings, the originality of which is questionable, he added.
BJP spokesperson Anjaneya Reddy demanded a thorough enquiry into the affairs of TTD. The Tirumala temple is a treasure trove of wealth donated by the kings and maharajas. During the period of Vijayanagara empire, the temple was under the direct administration of the rulers. Thereafter, the Sultans of Golkonda and the Nawabs of Arcot took over the management. After the advent of the British, the Tahsildar, Tirupathi was given the management of the temple....