Hyderabad: Former MP from Ongole in Andhra Pradesh, Y.V. Subba Reddy, 59, took over as the new chairman of the world’s richest Hindu temple, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) trust board on Saturday evening. Subba Reddy is the maternal uncle of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. Subba Reddy was YSR Congress MP in the previous Lok Sabha but did not contest the recent elections.

Though there were allegations that Subba Reddy was a Christian as per a record held by the 16th Lok Sabha website, sources close to the former MP denied this and maintained that he was, since his childhood, an ardent devotee of Lord Balaji. To prove his devotion to the Lord, Subba Reddy climbed on foot the seven hills atop Tirumala on Friday night.

Subba Reddy’s appointment was made on Friday evening after the sitting trust board chairman, Putta Sudhakar Yadav, a Telugu Desam Party leader, submitted his resignation to the government, after he was asked to leave by state Endowments Minister V. Srinivas. Though some of the TTD members of the previous board have quit, Yadav continued till the Andhra Pradesh government sent him a notice.

Subba Reddy was denied a ticket in the LS elections as Jagan wanted to field another strong leader from the seats, Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, who joined the YSR
Congress from TDP before the elections. Subba Reddy was in a sulk for some time and demanded that he be made a Rajya Sabha member, but Jagan made him TTD chairman, a coveted nominated post in Andhra politics.

Subba Reddy was sworn in as the new chairman of TTD in a colourful ceremony by Executive Officer Anil K. Singhal, an IAS, on the temple premises of Tirumala. The ceremony was attended by a galaxy of YSR Congress leaders and some ministers. The remaining members of the trust board are expected to be appointed by next week.

Addressing a gathering after taking charge, Subba Reddy announced that there would be a thorough review of all the gold deposits of TTD with different banks as well as the temple’s assets in various forms. TTD’s gold reserves now weigh around 10 tonnes and it has cash to the tune of around Rs 20,000 crore, besides other assets, totalling the Lord’s wealth to around Rs 1.5 lakh crore, sources said.

Subba Reddy might set up an experts’ committee to look into the charges of irregularities in bank deposits of gold and cash. The seizure of gold worth two quintals transported by a private bank by the Election Commission before the recent elections in Tamil Nadu stirred a controversy. Reddy will also take steps to decongest the Tirumala hills.

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