The ringleader of a nine-member gang, involved in the theft of the gold-plated disk and the ornamental leaves atop the Swarna Ratham (Golden Chariot) of Lord Venkateswara last December, said on Saturday, that “it was Lord Venkateswara himself who asked me to steal the gold on his chariot to overcome my financial difficulties.”
R. Ramesh, 29, a native of Uppuguda in Hyderabad, was produced before the media, along with eight others involved in a dozen cases of theft in and around Tirupati worth over Rs.30 lakh.
He maintained that it took two nights for him to complete his task. “On a Saturday night, I attempted to peel off the gold from the chariot. On Sunday, I brought the cutter and blades and removed the leaves atop the chariot and part of the central disc.”
The Tirupati urban superintendent of police, Mr J. Prabhakar Rao, said that the gang was arrested in suspicious circumstances at the railway under-bridge at Alipiri-Cherlopalle cross.
The cops seized 840 grams of gold worth Rs.20 lakh, 500 grams of silver ornaments, 10 laptops, 87 mobile phones, a digicam, a scanner, a DVD player, a motorcycle, 8 gas cylinders, one DBBL rifle thieved from the Andhra Bank at SV Medical College recently. Deccan Chronicle