TTD, Deekshitulu spar over retirement, rituals and Jewellery

TTD, Deekshitulu spar over retirement, rituals and Jewellery

The ongoing tussle between the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and the recently retired chief priest Dr A V Ramana Deekhsitulu took a serious turn on Sunday with Deekhsitulu demanding a probe by a retired justice into the allegations he made.

Deekshitulu, along with two other priests, lost their coveted posts after the TTD, which manages the affairs of the Tirumala temple, decided to implement an age limit of 65 years.

Deekshitulu, however, believes that his Chennai press conference about the corrupt practices in the TTD prompted the action.

Refuting the allegations, Anil Kumar Singhal, the executive officer of the TTD, addressing a press conference in Tirumala on Sunday, said that the TTD has implemented the 2012 order setting an upper age limit for the “Meerasidar” archakas.

“We have selected three more archakas from the hereditary archaka families. This way we have given chance to others to serve the lord. It is wrong to blame us as anti-Brahmin” Singhal said.

He further said Justice Wadhwa and Justice Jagannadha Rao committees that looked into the records of highly valuable jewellery of Lord Venkateswara have cleared the issue of the so-called broken valuable stone of the lord.

“It is wrong to say that a valuable diamond was missing. Actually it was a ruby and the broken pieces are with the TTD under lock and key,” he said.

Deekhsitulu claimed that the valuable pink diamond was last seen at an auction that took place in Geneva. Singhal was emphatic in saying that all jewellery, as per the 1952 records, is intact.

He said the rituals are not changed as per the whims and fancies of the political heads as claimed by the former chief priest.

"Since 1971, suprabhata seva has been conducted at 3 am. If the Agama Mandali okays it, we will live telecast the Arjita sevas," he said.

He further said that repairs to the “Srivari Potu” (celestial kitchen) have been undertaken periodically in 2001 and again in 2007.

Within an hour of the press conference, Deekhsitulu said the TTD officials in their records mention that the pink diamond broke when the coins thrown by devotees during Garuda Seva hit the diamond-studded chain.

“Closing the 'potu' means starving the Lord. Food can’t be cooked outside and brought in for offering,” he said.