Miscreant takes TTD’s electric bus for a spin

Locals alerted the police after finding the bus abandoned at Birada Vada village on the highway near Naidupet.
The Dharma Ratham was traced at Birada Vada village near Naidupet | Express
The Dharma Ratham was traced at Birada Vada village near Naidupet | Express

TIRUMALA: An unidentified person stole an electric bus, operated by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) to provide free transportation to devotees, early on Sunday even as a security blanket was in place in view of the ongoing nine-day Salakatla Brahmotsavams. The bus was stolen from a charging station around 5.30 a.m.

Popularly known as the Dharma Rathams, these buses ferry pilgrims from one place to another in and around Tirumala, including Papavina-sham. The incident has left senior TTD officials puzzled as the bus was stolen at a time when nearly 3,900 police officers, 2,000 vigilance staff, and hundreds of officials from the transport department were guarding the hillock.

“We suspect that the accused had the knowledge of operating electric buses. The night watchman and vigilance staff at the charging station were asleep in a room when the theft took place,” TTD officials said.
On noticing that the e-bus was missing, the staff immediately alerted the Tirupati police and vigilance officials, who began tracking it through CCTV footage. Further investigation revealed that the accused had taken the bus for a spin to Naidupet via Tirupati, Renigunta and Srikalahasthi.

Locals alerted the police after finding the bus abandoned at Birada Vada village on the highway near Naidupet. Simultaneously, the police also tracked the vehicle with the help of GPS. Speaking to TNIE, the general manager of TTD’s transport wing Sesha Reddy said the accused might be someone who knew where the bus would be parked and how it is operated. Further, he also suspected differences between the accused and the bus drivers to be the reason for the theft.

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