Hyderabad: Tirmala temple’s former chief priest A.V. Ramana Deekshitulu questioned the TTD board for issuing him a legal notice claiming Rs 100 crore damages for demanding a CBI inquiry into the loss of valuable jewellery of Lord Venkateswara. He asked how the notice could be issued without conducting an inquiry to check if his allegations were true.
“For questioning the irregularities at the Tirumala temple, are you serving a legal notice? Who gave you (TTD) this power? Are we in a democracy or a dictatorship,” Dr Deekshitulu told mediapersons here on Wednesday.
He asked if the reputation of Lord Venkateswara was worth only Rs 100 crore. He said if the CBI inquiry was not ordered into his allegations, he would will go on an indefinite hunger strike in July.
Dr Deekshitulu said before replying to the notice, he wanted certain clarifications from the TTD. He said the AP government and TTD board officers had brought some persons forward to certify that his allegations false, and made them give a clean chit.
“Is the government taking cover under these baseless clean chits given by these people to avoid an inquiry and fool the people,” he asked. “Are these people in any way connected to the CBI?”
He suspected this was a means to avoid inquiries by the CBI and the Dharmika Mandali comprising heads of Hindu mutts. “Probably the authorities felt that in case this issue was not diverted it may put them authorities in trouble,” he said.
He questioned the government and the TTD for sending the notice for damages without conducting the inquiry as demanded. “Is it not misusing the law and using power and force to threaten people who question them,” he said.
Pay lord Rs 25,000 crore
Dr Deekshitulu said he was planning to claim Rs 25,000 crore from the AP government to be paid to Lord Venkateswara for “keeping the lord without food and water for 25 days from December 8, 2017, to January 3, 2018, because the Srivari Potu was closed.
He said many others had raised the issues he had mentioned. “Why is such a legal notice not served on them,” the former chief priest said.
He said he would initiate legal action against those persons who had claimed he was blackmailing the government for money, political mileage and trying to get a ticket for the 2019 elections.
Dr Deekshitulu said when he went to inspect the unauthorised civil work inside the Srivari Potu as chief priest, TTD joint executive officer Srinivasa Raju was present there. He said the TTD should have taken precautions to undertake such huge repairs to the 1,000-year-old Potu.
Dr Deekshitulu said that when he became disturbed at the sight of repairs, Mr Raju took him aside and told him angrily that “he had the permission of the Chief Minister and madam also.” Dr Deekshitulu said when he asked who “madam” was and how was she authorised to accord permission, Mr Raju asked him to “keep his mouth shut” and threatened him, Dr Deekshitulu alleged.
Dr Deelshitulu said a recording of temple affairs by a collector of North Arcot district in 1800 AD under British rule mentioned a huge quantity of jewellery, gold ornaments, gold mohurs numbering above 18 lakh and countless precious gems stored in underground chambers with an entry, which is now closed, from the inner kitchen.
Dr Deekshitulu said TTD officers and ‘Dollar’ Seshadri, former superintendent P. Seshadri, and others used to get renowned jewellers to make replicas of ancient jewellery with semi-precious stones and gold. Following this, they used to shift the original jewellery from temple and and say it used to be kept in the TTD treasury at the foothills for safe custody.
He said this practice ne-eded to be investigated, and asked where was the need to make replicas.
He said everyone should understand that employees sought control of the temple, and not archakas, so that there would be no one to question them. This was also the reason for the appointment of Dollar Seshadri and Mr Guru-raja Rao as Bokkasam (treasury) incharge. He said a proper investigation would bring to light more issues.
Hindu body says sentiments hurt
The presence of a member of a Christian charity organisation at a press conference held by Tirumala temple former chief priest Dr A.V. Ramana Deekshit-ulu on Wednesday rais-ed a furore, with allegations of a political conspiracy along with the YSCR to defame the government.
Vedika state co-convener Siripurapu Sridhar alleged that Dr Deekshitulu had conducted the press meet accompanied by leaders of Simons Amruth Foundation, a Chris-tian charity organisation of Guntur.
He said that Dr Deekshitulu had violated the norms of Hindu religion by colluding and working with Chri-stian missionaries, and this was against Sanatana Dharma. Mr Sridhar alleged that Dr Deekshitulu aligning with Christian missionaries like B. Anil and others had hurt the sentiments of Hindus.
Hindu Dharma Raksha Samiti district president D. Srinivas called the former priest “pastor Deekshitulu”.