Tirupati: Three gold crowns ‘go missing’

Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh): Three gold crowns of the presiding deities, studded with precious stones, were stolen on Saturday from Sri Govindarajaswami Temple, one of the biggest temple complexes in Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. The theft of the crowns, which date to the 12th century, is suspected to have taken place at the time evening prasad was being offered, according to the police complaint filed by the temple.

The main doors of the temple was closed between 5 pm and 5:45 pm at the time of the ritual. When the doors were re-opened half-an-hour later, the crowns were found missing. Priest Harikrishna Deekshitulu, who took charge from priest Vijayasaradhi when the temple opened, noticed the crowns were missing. He then informed Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, the overseeing authority, and a police complaint was filed in the early hours on Sunday. Three priests perform duties in shifts at the shrine.

As there were no visitors after the evening ritual, the police suspect that one of the temple staffers may be involved in the theft. “We are examining all the CCTV footages and everyone who was on the location will be treated as a suspect and will be interrogated,” an investigating officer told NDTV.

The crowns weighed about 1.3 kg; the one adorning deity Govinda Raja Swamy weighs 528 gm while those of Sri Devi and Bhu Devi weigh 528 gm and 408 grams respectively, a media report said. A local BJP leader and some party workers protested against the theft in front of the temple. The police have registered a case but no arrest has been made so far

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