Tirupati: The Sri Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala here owns 9,259 kg of gold deposited with various banks and in its treasury, a senior temple official said on Monday.
The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the country’s richest temple, has 5,387 kg of gold with the State Bank of India and 1,938 kg of gold with the Indian Overseas Bank under gold deposit schemes.
TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal said Punjab National Bank (PNB) returned 1,381 kg of gold on April 20 as the three-year scheme had reached the maturity.
In addition, TTD treasury has 553 mixed gold, comprising small jewellery.
A day after the Andhra Pradesh government ordered an inquiry into the alleged lapses into the release and transportation of 1,381 kg gold in the wake of its seizure by the Election Commission in Tamil Nadu, the TTD EO told a news conference that PNB had total responsibility of the gold till delivering it to TTD treasury.
The gold was seized in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu on April 17 when it was being brought back from PNB’s branch in Chennai to the TTD treasury in Tirupati.
He denied media reports that TTD showed documents to the Election Commission claiming ownership of the gold. Singhal made it clear that they were in no way concerned with the security and transportation of the gold as it was the responsibility of the PNB.
After the seizure of the gold, the Income Tax department asked the TTD to send an official in connection with the investigations. The TTD official informed the IT that PNB was supposed to deliver the gold at the TTD treasury on April 18.
The gold seizure a day before the elections in Tamil Nadu triggered a row with TTD initially denying that the gold belonged to it.
Sri Venkateswara Temple popularly known as Tirupati owns 9,259 kg gold:
Singhal defended the stance taken by the temple body. “It is TTD gold when it reaches the treasury. How do we know how much gold the truck was carrying and what was its transportation route,” he asked.
On criticism for transportation the gold in the midst of elections, he dismissed this as coincidence. He said the maturity date was known when 1,311 kg gold was deposited with PNB in 2016.
He said TTD had written a letter to PNB on March 27 that gold deposit will be reaching maturity on April 18 and asked it to deliver the gold at treasury along with the interest (70 kg gold).
He said under the gold deposit gold scheme, the banks are paid one per cent commission and 1.5 per cent handling charges which includes gold purity testing, transportation, storage and other costs.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Secretary L.V. Subrahmanyam on Sunday ordered an inquiry in the wake of gold seizure.
He asked Special Chief Secretary, Revenue, Manmohan Singh, to find out the lapses, if any, on the part of PNB and TTD and submit a report on or before April 23.
The inquiry officer was asked to see if there were written instructions issued by the Executive Officer, TTD, and what was the role of the TTD vigilance wing.
The officer will also report on what special care and monitoring the vigilance wing of TTD has to take.
Zomato acquires UberEats India for nearly Rs 2,500 crore
New Delhi: Zomato on Tuesday announced that it has acquired Uber’s Food Delivery Business in India in an all-stock deal and Uber will have 9.99 per cent stake in the Deepinder Goyal-led food delivery platform.
According to sources close to the deal, it is in the range of over $350 million or nearly Rs 2,500 crore.
Uber Eats in India will discontinue operations and direct restaurants, delivery partners, and users of the Uber Eats apps to the Zomato platform, effective from Tuesday.
“We are proud to have pioneered restaurant discovery and to have created a leading food delivery business across more than 500 cities in India. This acquisition significantly strengthens our position in the category,” said Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato.
According to company sources, for the first three quarters of 2019, “our Uber Eats business comprised 3 per cent of our global Eats gross bookings, but was more than 25 per cent of our global Eats Segment Adjusted EBITDA losses”.
Uber started its food delivery service in India around mid-2017, but has not been able to scale up in the face of big players like Zomato and Swiggy.
It currently has nearly 26,000 restuarants listed on its platform from over 40 cities.
The market is piping hot as according to a recent study by business consultancy firm Market Research Future, the online food ordering market in India is likely to grow at over 16 per cent annually to touch $17.02 billion by 2023.
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that the Uber Eats team in India has achieved an incredible amount over the last two years.
“India remains an exceptionally important market to Uber and we will continue to invest in growing our local Rides business, which is already the clear category leader,” said Khosrowshahi.
“We have been very impressed by Zomato’s ability to grow rapidly in a capital-efficient manner and we wish them continued success,” he added.
On January 10, Zomato had announced that it has secured $150 million in fresh funding from Ant Financial, a subsidiary of China-based giant Alibaba.
The latest round of funding in Zomato, which currently value the company at $3 billion, is part of $600 million funding round announced by Zomato CEO Goyal at a Delhi event last December.
The deal comes in the wake of merger talks between Zomato and Swiggy, whoch both the companies have denied to date.