Tirupati, Feb 4: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has taken serious note of the theft of three crowns from the temple of Sri Govinda Raja Swamy in Tirupati and directed the police to take immediate steps to apprehend the culprits.
During a teleconference with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders on Monday, Naidu said the government would not tolerate such incidents. He said the authorities concerned have been directed to tighten security to prevent such incidents.
The three crowns, weighing approximately 1,351 gm and valued at around Rs 50 lakh, were stolen on Saturday evening, officials said.
The Tirupati Urban police have formed nine teams to crack the case. Officials said they were scanning CCTV footage of the temple and surrounding areas. Some temple employees, including the priests who were on duty, were questioned on Sunday.
Tirupati Urban Superintendent of Police K.K.N. Anburajan said the police had gathered vital clues and exuded confidence of cracking the case soon.
The crowns were said to be stolen between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday. The investigators quizzed a priest and other employees who came to the temple for the shift that started at 5 p.m. A suspect was also questioned. However, they were later let off.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal has inspected the temple premises.
He said as soon as the duty ‘archakas’ noticed that the crowns were missing, senior officers rushed to the temple. Kumar said there were 15 cameras in the temple which were functioning properly.
The vigilance staff of the TTD have submitted CCTV footage to the police.
The Sri Govinda Raja Swamy temple is one of the 10 temples which come under the TTD.