Three arrested in darshan ticket scandal

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Tirumala, June 11 (UNI) An inter-state gang involved in a Sri Vari room booking and darshan tickets scandal was busted, with the arrest of three people including the kingpin, by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) vigilance officials.

TTD Chief Vigilance and Security Officer Ramanakumar told newspersons here today that on routine checking, they trapped kingpin Padmanaban, hailing from Eluru, when he was moving in a suspicious manner near the Vaikuntam queue complex in Tirumala.

On interrogation, he revealed that he was booking cottages and Sri Vari darshan tickets in advance by taking demand drafts under fictitious names from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and selling them in black to the pilgrims in Tirumala for the last three years, he said.

Along with the kingpin, two others-Venkatesh and Naik of Tirupati, were also held and as many 30 DDs to be presented to TTD, 30 cottage booking receipts and some Sri Vari seva tickets booked in advance were seized from them.

They were letting out the rooms for Rs 1,000 as against its rate of Rs 100 and 200 in the peak season.

Cases of black marketing have been registered against the accused Padmanaban and Venkatesh in 2004 and 2003 respectively.

The three accused were handed over to the Tirumala two town police station, who arrested and registered criminal cases against them, he added.

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