'Dawood man visited Balaji temple, got VIP darshan'

'Dawood man visited Balaji temple, got VIP darshan'

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) administration is stuck in the middle of political slugfest for arranging a special visit for someone alleged to be a member of Chhota Shakeel’s gang. 

Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu, a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA, made this allegation on Friday. Shakeel is widely acknowledged to be the right hand man of India’s most wanted criminal, Dawood Ibrahim. 

On the eve of Vaikunta Ekadasi, with almost one lakh pilgrims thronging the temple town to have glimpse of Lord Balaji, the resident deity, Ajay Navandar, a resident of Mumbai, alleged to be a Chhota Shakeel aide, was accorded special treatment and VIP darshan, twice.

Navandar was accompanied by Maharashtra’s housing minister, Sachin Ahir, during his first visit to the temple and by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray during his second darshan.

TTD chairman Kanumuri Bapiraju confirmed in Tirumala that Navandar had accompanied Ahir. But he said he did not know of Navadar’s alleged underworld connection. “I have no idea that Navandar had underworld links and that he was part of an entourage that was accorded protocol passes,” said a beleaguered TTD chairman to the media.

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