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Why Jagan Govt needs to tread carefully on TTD Board appointments

A common belief in Andhra Pradesh pertaining to anyone messing with Lord Venkateswara Swamy’s temple space or Board will bear the consequences which can be disastrous. This belief and rumour was widespread when former Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy had famously commented “why the Lord needs 7 hills” and believed in constructing a church on one of those hills. 
 
Following his father’s mis-steps, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy could be committing the same mistake again. In a recent decision, the government appointed several members to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Board, who have corruption cases and have been extremely controversial people in India. 
 
In an order issued recently, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister named N. Srinivasan, former BCCI chairman and India Cements managing director, and B. Parthasaradhi Reddy, chairman of Hyderabad-based pharma group Hetero, among 24 trustees nominated to the board that manages the Sri Venkateswara temple in Tirumala.
 
A second order was passed following this, to appoint Chennai-based mining baron A.J. Sekhar alias Sekhar Reddy — who had been removed from the board in 2016 by the previous government after income tax raids against him — as a special invitee on the board.
 
Both Srinivasan and Reddy were co-accused, among several others, in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s quid-pro-quo case into the disproportionate assets of Jagan, in which the latter was jailed for 16 months from May 2012 and September 2013.
 
The case against Srinivasan, in which he had appeared before the CBI, is about India Cements’s alleged investments of about Rs 140 crore in Jagan’s companies like Jagati Publications (which runs Telugu newspaper Sakshi) in return for the benefit of land and water allocations for its units in the then united Andhra Pradesh.
 
According to a TTD official, who didn’t wish to be identified, there is another issue with Srinivasan’s appointment. Srinivasan has served as a TTD board member for two full terms prior to this — during 2004-08, when Jagan’s father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was the CM, and when the alleged quid-pro-quo dealings took place.
 
Looks like, Jagan is again out to mess with the temple. Well, let’s hope that the most deserving members serve on the Board! 
 

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