Tirumala head priest forced to retire after he alleged corruption

Chief priest of Lord Venkateshwara temple atop Tirumala AV Ramana Deekshitulu was on Wednesday forced to retire within a day of him making allegations of corruption in the temple administration.

The maiden meeting of the newly constituted trust board of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the country’s richest temple, in its meeting held on Tirumala unanimously resolved to make all the Archakas (priests) who had crossed 65 years of age retire from the temple services.

“Following this decision, chief priest Ramana Deekshitulu and three other priests Narasimha Deekshitulu, Srinivasa Murthy Deekshitulu and Narayana Deekshitulu, would have to retire from service,” TTD trust board chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav told media.

In the wake of the retirement of these priests who had been serving the temple for several years, the TTD trust board appointed four other Archakas from the families of Mirasidars (hereditary priests).

On Tuesday, Ramana Deekshitulu spoke to media in Chennai, alleging that the administrators of the temple were siphoning off the temple money and destroying the sanctity of the temple, which attracts lakhs of devotees every day. He demanded an open audit into the donations being received by the temple and expenditure being incurred by the TTD.

The chief priest demanded that the authorities should maintain transparency with regard to donations and jewellery and also to bring the TTD under the purview of of the Right to Information Act.

He also alleged that the TTD authorities were damaging the ancient structure in the name of beautification and for building special lines for VVIPs and demanded that the Archaeological Survey of India should assess the damage to the structure.

Reacting to Deekshitulu’s allegations, TTD executive officer Anil Kumar Singhal said the trust board had decided to serve a show cause notice on the chief priest seeking his explanation for his alleged derogatory remarks on the temple administration.

The trust board, among other things, also decided to constitute a local advisory committee for Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple in New Delhi and a sub-committee to look into depositing of temple revenue in various banks.

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