Tirupati temple
Tirupati templewikimedia commons

Claims of a robbery at the Tirupati Lord Venkateshwara shrine in Andhra Pradesh have emerged again after the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that a silver crown weighing about 5 kg and other golden ornaments have gone missing from the treasury of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).

Even though the ornaments have been missing since 2017, the theft came to light only on Tuesday (August 27) after the temple official released an audit pertaining to the temple treasury.

The BJP secretary of AP, G Bhanuprakash Reddy, reportedly said that there is huge scam behind the missing ornaments as the crown and golden ornaments offered by devotees of Lord Venkateshwara have been missing from the high-security treasury of TTD since October 2017.

Last year, the former chief priest of the temple, Ramana Deekshithulu, had claimed that several precious jewels were missing from Tirumala. The treasury houses many precious jewels and ornaments that were donated by 16th century Vijayanagara ruler Sri Krishna Devaraya. He also alleged financial irregularities by the temple authorities.

According to reports, the missing jewellery is worth Rs 7.36 lakhs. The authorities, instead of finding the truth behind the missing jewellery, had directed to recover the lost amount from the salary of its then Assistant Executive Officer (AEO) M Srinivasulu, who was responsible for the treasury. The authorities were charging Rs 25,000 per month from his salary from November 2018.

Srinivasulu had pleaded innocent over the incident twice, once in December 2018 and in January 2019. The current AEO of TTD, Anil Kumar Singhal, said that they found discrepancies in the treasury records upon verification.

He also said that a new audit will be conducted in September to re-verify and have a proper track on the treasury. They will also conduct an investigation in the incident. The authorities will issue a detailed statement over the matter and take stringent actions with the people concerned.