The temple’s senior official has announced that the Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple at Tirumala owns 9,259 kg of gold stored with several banks and in its treasury. It is said that Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), under bank gold deposit schemes, has 5,387 kg of gold with SBI and 1,938 kg of gold with the Indian Overseas Bank.
As per the data from the TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal, Punjab National Bank has returned 1,381 kg of gold on April 20 as the three-year scheme had reached the maturity. Furthermore, TTD treasury has 553 mixed gold, including small jewellery.
Just hours later the Andhra government ordered an inquiry into the lapses into the release and transportation of 1,381 kg gold in the wake of its seizure by the Election Commission in Tamil Nadu, the TTD EO told that PNB had total responsibility of the gold till delivering it to TTD treasury. The gold was seized in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu on April 17 when it was being returned back from PNB’s branch in Chennai to the TTD treasury in Tirupati.
Moreover, the Income Tax department asked the TTD to send an official in connection to the investigations. The TTD official notified the IT that PNB was assumed to deliver the gold at the TTD treasury on April 18. The gold seizure a day before the elections in Tamil Nadu triggered a row with TTD initially rejecting that the gold belonged to it.
“It is TTD gold when it reaches the treasury. How do we understand how much gold the truck was carrying and what was its transportation route,” Singhal defended. On objection for transportation the gold in the midst of elections, he rejected this as coincidence. He said the maturity date was known when 1,311 kg gold was deposited with PNB in 2016.
He said TTD had written a note to PNB on March 27 that gold deposit will be reaching maturity on April 18 and ordered it to deliver the gold at treasury along with the interest (70 kg gold).
He said under the gold deposit gold scheme, the banks are given one per cent commission and 1.5 per cent handling charges which include gold purity testing, transport, storehouse and other costs.
Last week, AP Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam asked an analysis in the wake of the gold seizure. He asked Special Chief Secretary, Revenue, Manmohan Singh, to find out the errors, if any, on the part of PNB and TTD and submit a report on or before April 23. The role of the TTD vigilance wing and written guidance issued by the TTD Executive Officer are an idea to be examined by the inquiry office. The officer will also, report on what special care and monitoring the vigilance division of TTD has to take.