In a major security lapse, some miscreants knocked away with the top portion (circular shaped plate ) of the golden umbrella and the gold ornamental leaves hung around the rim of the umbrella from the golden chariot of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala.
According to the sources, the incident came into light only on Wednesday when a big hole was noticed on the zinc sheets provided around the chariot as a protective cover. It is reportedly believed that the thieves gained entry and made it to the car stationed in front of the main temple complex behind the Vahana mandapam in a high security zone by cutting open the zinc sheets. Sources said that both the stolen portion of the umbrella and the ornamental leaves were fully gold plated and was not made up of pure gold. However, the exact amount of gold used is not immediately known.
Talking to media persons, the Tirumala based TTDs Joint Executive Officer K. Bhaskar, agreed that the incident has exposed the security lax. The value of the stolen ornaments would be Rs.50,000 to Rs.70,000 and does not run into several crores of rupees as being ‘projected' in a section of press. Once the inventory details of the lost articles (which are insured ) are ascertained a complaint will be lodged with the police for further action he said.
The clues team and the finger prints experts ‘sifted' the place for clues.
The only question plaguing the TTD management is that how could anybody dare such a extreme step at a place which is always buzzing with pilgrim activity besides being just a stone-throw away distance from the TTDs security post situated in front of the Ram Bagicha guest houses.