Tainted at helm in TTD?
The appointment of some of the TTD trust board members snowballing into a major controversy with more and more political parties and leaders expressing their strong resentment over the nomination of ‘tainted persons’ to a religious and spiritual body like TTD. Many leaders were anguished over the appointment of people with dubious and questionable backgrounds as TTD trust board members.
Sand smugglers, murky dealers in religious Trust Board cause concern
Tirupati: The appointment of some of the TTD trust board members snowballing into a major controversy with more and more political parties and leaders expressing their strong resentment over the nomination of ‘tainted persons’ to a religious and spiritual body like TTD. Many leaders were anguished over the appointment of people with dubious and questionable backgrounds as TTD trust board members.
They sought the government to take immediate remedial measures to uphold the image and integrity of the TTD. They also find fault with the government for yielding to pulls and pressures while reconstituting the trust board and in one voice insisted the government should opt only those people with service motive, impeccable character, and faith on Lord Venkateshwara and committed to the propagation of bhakti and values.
It may be recalled that many people expressed their reservation over the appointment of Dr Hari Prasad, a practicing doctor in the pilgrim town and also Sekhar, a civil contractor based in Chennai, who was originally from Katpadi and owns a sand quarry, on the ground that both were allegedly involved in murky deals.While Hari Prasad allegedly involved in severe financial irregularities like conversion of black money into white, the Chennai-based contractor was allegedly active in sand smuggling.
It may be noted here that the Cobra Post in a string operation in 2013 exposed Hari Prasad and one of his relatives holding a high position in a nationalized bank in New Delhi, about their murky financial dealings which went viral in YouTube and a Telugu TV channel also carried it in detail.
Sources say the appointment of Sekhar was at the behest of an influential politician from neighbouring Tamil Nadu. Repeated attempts to contact Hari Prasad to get his clarification on the allegations against him failed as he remained beyond the reach of the media on Monday after CPM took up a protest before the TTD administrative building, seeking his removal as TTD trust board member.
Talking to The Hans India, MLC B Chengalrayulu (Congress) observed that if any tainted member found place in the TTD trust board, they should step down on their own keeping in view the unique position of the TTD. Without naming anyone, he said any person to hold a position like the TTD trust board should be above controversy. Lok Satta Party district convenor K Balasubramanayam objected to the manner in which the government reconstituted the TTD trust board.
The ruling party seems to be more concerned to satisfy various groups and sections in order to safeguard its interests rather than appointing right persons to ensure proper administration of the biggest Hindu religious institution, he averred. A BJP district leader on condition of anonymity lamented that Hindu religious institutions like TTD trust board became rehabilitation centres for politically-unemployed people and criticized the government for appointing tainted persons as trust board members.
He said such appointments would tarnish the image of the TTD and also increase interference in the administration. CPM senior leader K Murali condemned the government for nominating Hari Prasad as TTD trust board member even after his involvement in financial irregularities came to light a year back. Demanding the government to remove Hari Prasad and also Sekhar who he alleged running a sand mafia in Tamil Nadu, he declared that his party would step up the stir if the government failed to respond.
However, TDP state secretary Narasimha Yadav defended his government’s appointment of TTD trust board members and said only righteous and good people were appointed as board members.Talking to The Hans India, he said that some vested interests were trying to make it an issue. MLC Y Srinivasulu Reddy said that it was unfortunate that political considerations were taken into consideration in the appointment of TTD trust board members.
Only those acceptable to all and of righteous nature should be preferred for the appointment as members of the TTD trust board. “TTD is the biggest Hindu religious institution, with a huge annual budget of Rs 2500 crore and its activities spread all over the country,” he said stressing on constituting the TTD trust board on apolitical basis.