The famed Tirupati laddus of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) have allegedly been 'misappropriated' by the temple workers. What's even more shocking is that the scam took place in just the last Garuda Seva of the recent Navaratri Brahmotsavam. It is reported that about 26,000 of the famous laddoos went missing, with the losses amounting to about Rs 14 lakh.
According to the security wing of the TTD, these laddus were taken by contract and permanent employees working at the temple. A complaint was also lodged with the Tirumala One Town police after TTD's Executive Officer AK Singhal, directed the vigilance wing. Now about 30 employees who operated the laddu counters have been brought in for questioning, reports the ToI.
TTD is also planning to fire 17 people who, according to the report, are the main accused in this case. This issue, notes the report, was first noticed after TTD was alerted that a number of contract employees reportedly attempted to do away with thousands of laddus, all while recording that they were, in fact, sold.
TTD's website says that on average, about 300,000 laddus are sold at the temple. The sale happens in two steps, notes the report. First, a token is issued and then laddus are dispensed after scanning them one by one. This is done to avoid confusion and ensure transparency in the transaction.
With the Brahmotsavam attracting millions of devotees, the temple decided to issue the prasadam—laddus—to devotees even when their tokens were not getting scanned, notes the report. The temple administration now believes that contractors who operated 22 out of the 32 counters made use of unscanned tokens a few days later, diverting thousands of laddus, selling them off at high prices. This operation reportedly cost the TTD Rs 14 lakh.
The Tirupati laddu, reports the TNM, was first introduced in the temple on 2 August 1715. Since then, it has remained a major source of revenue for the temple. Made of flour, sugar, ghee, oil, cardamom and dry fruits, these sweets a few crores to the TTD's annual budget.