Andhra Pradesh

Missing TTD jewellery: furore over management choosing to recover value from officer

The Venkateswara temple in Tirumala.  

In yet another setback to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the issue of ‘missing jewellery’ valued at ₹7.36 lakh from its treasury has stirred a hornet’s nest. Questions have been raised over the management’s decision to go in for recovery of its equivalent value, rather than initiating criminal proceedings.

It is the practice of the TTD to physically verify the jewellery in its treasury every year. When excess or shortage of items is noticed, it is duly entered in the stock register and action initiated as per the suggestion of approved valuers. It was during one such verification that the TTD had found jewels comprising two gold rings, two necklaces, silver crown and so on worth ₹7,36,376 missing in October 2017 and directed its recovery from the salary of the then Assistant Executive Officer (Treasury) M. Srinivasulu at the rate of ₹25,000 per month.

The said official, who pleaded innocence in the issue, submitted representations to the TTD twice in December 2018 and twice in January 2019, appealing to the management to keep the said order in abeyance till it came up with the final outcome of the stock verification process.

The official had also made an observation that the ‘missing’ case could have been an error of judgment pertaining to the valuation or category of the material or an accounting lapse, where an item under one head of account could have got mixed up with another. Mr. Srinivasulu also pointed out that no official posted to the treasury in the cadre of AEO or Deputy EO had ever been subjected to a recovery process in the past.

BJP’s posers

At a media conference here on Tuesday, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State spokesperson G. Bhanuprakash Reddy wondered how jewellery weighing over 5 kg could be physically moved out of the heavily guarded treasury. “The TTD boasts unbreachable security systems in place, including armed guards and a closely monitored CCTV network. This said, how is it humanly possible for anyone to carry a crown out of the treasury?”, he wondered.

Party secretary Samanchi Srinivas announced that a demonstration will be held in front of the TTD administrative building on Wednesday if the top authorities failed to respond over the issue.

While demanding a probe by a sitting judge of the High Court to bring the grey areas to light, Mr. Bhanuprakash Reddy also sought to know why the TTD preferred the recovery of cost to initiating criminal proceedings against the erring official. “Is the TTD trying to save anyone? Has a recovery procedure been initiated in the past? The common devotees of Lord Venkateswara want to know the answers”, he said.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 3:20:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/missing-ttd-jewellery-furore-over-management-choosing-to-recover-value-from-officer/article29268621.ece

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