Vijayawada/Tirupati: Even as the controversy over offering ‘tantrik’ pooja in the sanctum sanctorum of Sri Durga Malleswara Swami Varla Devasthanam in Vijayawada continues to rage, reports of another such pooja in a temple under the administration of Srikalahastheeswara Swamy Devasthanam in Chittoor district caused a sensation on Friday.
After video of Sri Kalahastheeswara Swamy temple superintendent Dhanpal performing some poojas on the night of January went viral, Executive Officer of the temple D Bhramarambha kept him under suspension.
The temple where Dhanpal performed poojas was at Bhairavakona temple near Vedam which is under the administration of Kalahasti temple. Vedam is 10 km away from Srikalahasti. The EO told The Hans India: “Already there is video of the superintendent performing pooja which is against rules,” she said but would not elaborate further on whether they were tantrik in nature.
The EO’s action against him was also on the grounds that he had misappropriated Rs 27,500 cash from donation counter, taking away 16 sarees and 20 dhotis meant for VIP devotees, and 3,000 worth of laddus and vadas form potu.
Meanwhile, in the video that became viral, he was seen performing poojas before Kalabhairava deity. It was said that he used to perform these pujas on every Tuesday, Sunday, Full Moon day and New Moon day which came to light now. Many Tamil devotees also visit that temple and perform pujas during these days, sources said.
While this is so, in Vijayawada, the inquiry committee comprising former executive officer Raghunath and agama advisor Ramasharma inquired with about 40 members including temple priests, staff and security personnel on Friday.
The committee conducted a detailed inquiry with all the staff on developments that took place on December 26 night when tantrik poojas were suspected to have been performed by priests in the temple.
According to sources, the chief priest did not admit performing any tantrik pooja in the temple. He reiterated that he went to temple to clean it. The committee members collected CC TV footage and discussed the details in the visuals.
The CC TV coverage has visuals of activity outside the sanctum sanctorum and there was no way of knowing what kind of poojas were performed inside the sanctum as there were no cameras inside.
As per the CC TV footage, four persons including Badrinath Babu carried coconut and some covers. There were reports that the visuals captured priests carrying a pumpkin also. Pumpkins are said to be used for performing tantrik rituals.Committee member Raghunath speaking to mediapersons, said that they would submit a report to the Endowments Commissioner in the next few days after interacting with all those involved in temple administration.
He said they had gone through two hours of CC TV footage and that they would be going through another two hours of the footage. AP Agama advisor Sriramsharma said that nobody could dare perform tantrik pooja in front of goddess Durga. He, however, said inquiry would reveal everything.