Driver keeps Lanka President waiting as guards grow tense

A major security lapse came to the fore during the visit of Sri Lanka  president Maithripala Sirisena to Tirumala on Sunday.

Published: 21st August 2016 10:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st August 2016 10:18 PM   |  A+A-

President Maithripala Sirisena and _First Lady Jayanthi receive prasadam from the priests of the Tirupathi  temple, august 21,2016

TIRUPATI: A major security lapse came to the fore during the visit of Sri Lanka  president Maithripala Sirisena to Tirumala on Sunday. He was forced to wait  for 12 minutes for his car after a darshan atop the Tirumala hill, giving  jitters to the staff of the Tiruumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD),  especially the security.  An inquiry has been ordered into the lapse.    SiriSena reached Tirumala late on Saturday night for a two-day pilgrimage. 

Upon arrival, the Sri Lanka president was received by TTD chairman  Chadalwada Krishnamurthy, executive officer (EO) Sambasiva Rao, Tirupati  joint EO Pola Bhaskar and other officials. He made a night halt at the Sri  Padmavathi guesthouse and arrangements were made for a visit to the temple  of Venkateshwara at Tirumala early Sunday morning.   

At 3 am Sunday, the president along with his wife Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari  Sirisena, son Daham Tharaka and other family members attended the Suprabhata  Seva. When they came out of the sanctum sanctorium, the driver of their car  was not in the seat.   

Sirisena and his wife waited for about 12 minutes inside the car as his  security stood guard around it. Even TTD staffers scurried around, the  driver coolly returned from his own darshan of the deity. Immediately,  Sirisena was driven at speed to the guest house.   

At around 6.30 am, during the VIP break time, Sirisena and his family  returned to the temple to pay obeisance to the presiding deity. He spent  about six minutes inside the sanctum sanctorum and TTD authorities presented  him silk clothes and pandits administered Vedaaseervachanam to the family.   

The minister in waiting, Andhra Pradesh's forest minister Bojjala  Gopalakrishna Reddy presented the president a replica of the Ananda Nilayam  (the dome of the garbhalayam of the temple) on behalf of the AP government.   

Later, Sirisena and his family members left for Bengaluru by road and were  scheduled to fly back to Sri Lanka.   

An inquiry has been ordered into the security lapse. It is learnt that the  driver and other members of Sirisena's retinue sought permission from the  temple authorities for a darshan of the deity. They were reportedly  permitted to enter the sanctum sanctorium despite the visit of the VVIP.  Tirupati Urban superintendent of police Jayalashmi is learnt to have  questioned the temple authorities for giving permission to drivers and other  staff during the VVIP visit.    

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