Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: The reported rejection of ‘darshan pass’ by the TTD’s Executive Officer I.Y.R. Krishna Rao to a pilgrim party which met him with a recommendation letter issued by the Chittoor TDP Member of Parliament is assuming caste as well as political overtones with the MP, a Dalit, trying to legally proceed against the EO under the SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act.

A complaint has already been lodged in the Tirumala police station in this connection by a close relative of the MP who approached the EO for the pass on the Vaikunta Ekadasi eve at Tirumala on Monday.

Giving a political dimension to the controversy, cadres belonging to the Telugu Desam held a dharna before the TTD’s Administrative Office and demanded legal action against the EO for allegedly insulting the MP. The demonstrators questioned the ‘free run’ enjoyed on the same day by the TTD Trust Board Chairman and the Board Members in sending their own kith and kin rather indiscriminately for ‘out of the turn’ darshan.

Meanwhile, the Executive Officer squarely denied the charge and asserted that he was ready to prove his point before any body and even in the court as the allegation was completely baseless.

Trying to explain the sequence of events which led to the ‘confusion’, Rao said that he told the bearer of the MP’s letter that he cannot give pass for eight persons as required in the letter but would give only five. He said when the bearer of the letter called up the MP over his mobile and gave the cell phone to him (EO) to speak to the MP, the latter started allegedly shouting at the EO without giving him a chance to explain his version, forcing him to switch off the phone.

Mr. Krishna Rao said that when the incident happened, he was in the office of the TTD Special Officer, Tirumala along with all the concerned officials and staff.