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Aug 22, 2009 at 11:11am IST

Tirupati priest mortgages temple jewellery

New Delhi: A Tirumala Tirupati Devasthaanam (TTD) priest has been detained by the police in Tirupati after he allegedly mortgaged temple jewellery worth Rs 9 lakh.

The priest has been questioned by the police at the Tirumala Police Station but no case has been registered so far.

BV Ramana Deekshitulu, who is the chief priest at Kodanda Rama Mandir, revealed that he pledged a 530 gram diamond necklace of Lord Balaji.

THE CULPRIT: Priest says he pledged a diamond necklace as he was in financial crisis.

Addressing the media ion Friday, Deekshitulu claimed that he pledged the diamond necklace as he was in deep financial crisis and had three daughters to take care off.

"My financial conditions were not good. That is why I had to do this. Nobody is responsible for this. I had only mortgaged this jewellery," said the priest.

Dikshitulu was first questioned by TTD officials after two necklaces were found missing.

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is one of the richest and most visited places of worship in the world. Around 1 lakh pilgrims visit the temple every day.