Andhra Police arrest 10 officials for selling VIP darshan tickets at Tirupathi temple

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TIRUPATHI: Andhra Pradesh Police picked up a few agents reportedly involved in the VIP darshan ticket racket when the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) officials doubted the tickets handed over to them by 23 devotees who had come to the temple with VIP darshan tickets. The officials scanned the bar code and found it to be fake. During interrogation Andhra Police found that Dharmayya, a superintendent of the TTD, was the brain behind the entire fraud and he was reportedly been selling the VIP darshan tickets in collusion with Venugopal and Raju of Karnataka for the past two years, a source said. The modus operandi was that VIPs who had donate Rs 10 lakh to the temple would be allowed to have break darshan with their families for a family of five apart from free accommodation three days in a year. Dharmayya tracked the donors who have not availed this facility and collected their details. Dharmayya later created fake VIP darshan tickets and sold them to devotees for Rs 4,000 to 5,000, when the actual cost of the ticket was Rs 500. The TTD sent SMS alerts to donors and other VIPs who issued recommendation letters for darshan tickets and on the other hand the fraudsters were thriving through the darshan ticket racket. But suspicion of the officials was confirmed after the visit of 23 pilgrims for VIP break darshan. Police said, the group made an error in one of the tickets which led to expose of the racket. Police arrested 10 persons on Wednesday and they were remanded to judicial custody.  ]]>

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