Tainted sand mining contractor and Chennai-based businessman J Sekhar Reddy was sacked on Saturday from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Trust Board, following seizure of huge cash and gold from his premises in Chennai.
The income tax officials unearthed Rs 106.52 crore in cash and 127kg of gold from the premises of Reddy and his close associates in the last two days.
The revenue department (endowments) ordered removal of Reddy from the TTD Trust Board, which manages the Lord Venkateshwara Swamy temple on Tirumala, after instructions from Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
“Naidu was shocked by the reports that Sekhar Reddy had amassed huge wealth through illegal methods. His continuance in the TTD would not only hurt the sentiments of the devotees, but also bring bad image to the AP government at a time when the chief minister is heading the committee of chief ministers to study the impact of demonetisation and suggest remedies to overcome the crisis,” a senior official in the chief minister’s office told Hindustan Times.
Inquiries revealed that Naidu had nominated Reddy to the 16-member TTD Trust Board, when it was revamped in April 2015, on the request of then Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. He is said to be a close associate of Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala.