The Andhra Pradesh government removed J Shekar Reddy, sand mining contractor and partner in SRS Mining, from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ (TTD) Trust Board on Saturday after income tax raids on the premises of his and his partners in Tamil Nadu unearthed a staggering stash of over Rs 100 crore and gold bars weighing 100 kg.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who reviewed the situation with the officials concerned, directed that Reddy be removed with immediate effect since his continuation would tarnish the image of the TTD and hurt the sentiments of devotees. “Shekar Reddy stands removed from the board. A GO to this effect is being issued,” Information Commissioner S Venkateswar confirmed to Express.
The I-T sleuths had on Thursday and Friday raided the premises of Reddy and his partners, Nagarathinam and SR Ramachandran and discovered about Rs 106 crore cash and gold bars weighing 100 kg. The raids were conducted in Anna Nagar near Andhra Mahila Club and T Nagar in Chennai and two houses of Shekar Reddy at Katpadi in Vellroe district.
Shekar Reddy was nominated to the TTD Trust Board on April 27, 2015 on the advice of the Tamil Nadu government. Reddy had paid a visit to former chief minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa when she was undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai recently.
On Friday, some officials in the State government, in the wake of raids on Reddy, termed them a surprise, pointing at the reputation he had as a ‘philanthropist’ and citing his ‘generous donations’ to the TTD. Top officials of the temple said they had no inkling that he was into something illegal. “In TTD, he has a good record,” a senior official said.