HYDERABAD: Brushing aside the 100-crore defamation case that was filed against him, former head priest of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), AV Ramana Deekshithulu, said it was a move to silence the voices of those who are questioning about corruption in the TTD.
“I have been slapped `100 crore defamation notice by the TTD. Is the worth of Lord just 100 crore? I will also go on a hunger strike soon as the sanctity of the temple functioning is being compromised,” he said.
Addressing a media conference here on Wednesday along with the state president of the Republican Party of India, Deekshithulu he said the ‘VIP darshan’ created for ‘special individuals’, forces the priests to cut short rituals to suit their schedule. He sought a CBI inquiry into the matter. “When I raised this point, I was slapped with a defamation suit stating that we are damaging the temple’s reputation. This is unfair and they are only trying to stop those who are vocal about corruption,” he said.
Recalling the instances from the recent past, where he raised objections about the way the TTD has been functioning -- about missing pieces of centuries-old jewellery, and how the Naivedhyam was prepared without sanctity, he said, “There is an age-old process that we follow to prepare Naivedyam but that was compromised. Officials claimed that they had to renovate the place where the food was prepared.’’
He said that when he brought this to the notice of the officials, they told him that they had the permission of the Chief Minister. Deekshithulu said that they were seeking the support of not just politicians but people of all walks of life.