Crown offered by Reddy will not be returned: Tirupati management
The statement has come in the wake of appeals by some political parties and devotees to return the crown as they felt it was offered by a ''tainted'' minister.
Tirupati: The diamond-studded gold crown worth Rs 45 crore offered by former Karnataka minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy to the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala two years ago would not be returned to him, the temple trust said today.
The position of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the shrine, was stated today by its Executive Officer LV Subrahmanyam in the wake of appeals by some political parties and devotees to return the crown as they felt it was offered by a ''tainted'' former Minister.
Reddy, who donated the 2.5-foot long, 30 kg crown on 11 June 2009, is now in jail in Hyderabad after the CBI arrested him on Monday in an illegal mining case in Andhra Pradesh.
Subrahmanyam told PTI that devotees' offerings would not be returned "under any circumstance". The same is applicable to the offering by Reddy also, he said.
However, TTD would not hesitate to furnish particulars about the offering to any government agency. "We are even ready to allow officials of Income Tax or any other state or central agencies who want to see the crown at the temple," he said.
Reddy, who was a minister in the Yeddyurappa cabinet, was arrested by the CBI on 5 September from Bellary under the Prevention of Corruption Act after a raid on his residence. The CBI has filed cases against Reddy and his brother-in-law Srinivasa Reddy, Managing Director of family run Obalapuram Mining Corporation in Andhra Pradesh on the charge of illegal mining.
A day after Reddy's arrest, devotees had staged a protest in the temple town of Tirupati, demanding return of the crown to him and that it should not be part of the deity's possessions.
A fire broke out in a kitchen outside the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara temple near Tirupati on Friday
In what is perhaps one of the most expensive commercial use of Lord Venkateswara's divine image, a Swiss firm has launched a limited edition of 333 watches.
Revenue (Endowments) Principal Secretary J S V Prasad issued an order to this effect and directed executive officers of all temples in the state to take necessary precautionary measures with immediate effect.