After Pashupati, Tirupati hits headlines in Nepal

February 15th, 2009 - 3:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Feb 15 (IANS) Lord Pashupatinath will have to submit his earnings to an auditing committee and have his priests appointed on the basis of a competitive exam.

As the times change in Nepal, transforming the world’s only Hindu kingdom into a Maoist-ruled republic, now it remains to be seen if another Hindu religious icon, Lord Tirupatinath, will be summoned for being “accessory” to a string of daring crimes that shook Nepal’s business community last year.

An Indian gangster who was part of Indian don Babloo Shrivastav’s gang in Mumbai but fled to Nepal after police turned the heat on him, is claiming that he donated NRS 100,000 from the profits of a “job” committed in Nepal to the revered Tirupati Venkateswara temple in India’s Andhra Pradesh state.

Uday Shetty, also known as the man who allegedly made extortion calls to a businessman in Gujarat on the behalf of Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty’s family, has told Nepal police that he donated part of his earnings from a series of sensational kidnappings at the Indian temple.

“I had promised Tirupati that I would make the donation if my operation went off successfully with his blessings,” Shetty told police.

Last year, Shetty and his henchmen abducted a college student from the Samakhushi area of the capital and obtained over NRS 1.2 million from his family as ransom. The “job” refers to the kidnapping of Neeraj Kakshapati.

While the deity received NRS 100,000, Shetty’s mother, who still lives in Mumbai, reportedly got more.

Shetty told police he bought her jewellery worth NRS 150,000, the Naya Patrika daily reported Sunday.

But the lion’s share of the loot — NRS 700,000 — reportedly went to his Nepali girlfriend who is said to be living in Butwal, west of Kathmandu valley.

After fleeing to Nepal, Shetty joined Nepal’s kidnap kingpin Amar Tandon and executed over a dozen abductions for which the ransom varied between over NRS 10 million to several thousands.

Shetty and at least three more members of his gang were arrested by Nepal police last month.

Besides kidnappings, he faces charges of dealing in drugs and arms.

His jail mates, however, are scoffing Shetty’s claim of making a donation at Tirupati.

“Police are trying to recover the money the gang still has with them,” said an inmate of Kathmandu’s Central Jail who did not want to be identified. “So he is making up such cock and bull stories to make them believe that he has very little money left with him.”

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