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Stay away from touts: Siddhivinayak temple trust

Updated on: 06 October,2023 08:43 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Shirish Vaktania |

Temple authorities issue warning notices, and order in-depth probe into employee and touts caught in this paper’s sting operation

Stay away from touts: Siddhivinayak temple trust

Hoardings warning devotees put up on the Siddhivinayak temple premises. Pic/Anurag Ahire

The Siddhivinayak temple authority has installed hoardings both outside and inside the temple premises after the exposé of the VVIP queue scam by mid-day. They also conducted a thorough inquiry into the employee captured by the mid-day team, who has since been transferred to another department and reported to the Dadar police for appropriate action.
Around 30 to 40 hoardings were set up by the Siddhivinayak temple authority, with a message urging devotees not to give money to flower sellers and street shopkeepers. The temple authority is actively advising their devotees to be cautious and not fall victim to this scam. The Dadar police, in collaboration with the Siddhivinayak temple authority, is investigating based on the mid-day report.

Following the mid-day report, temple staff have increased surveillance both inside and outside the temple. File Pic
Following the mid-day report, temple staff have increased surveillance both inside and outside the temple. File Pic

The hoardings convey the message, stating, "Quick 'Shree Siddhivinayak Darshan' is not arranged by accepting any money from the devotees through the flower seller or any other person in the temple premises. All the devotees coming to the temple are requested to bring it to the notice of Nyas Administration if anyone demands money for quick darshan. Please contact the following mobile numbers: 9930942428, 9324999094, 9821600941, 9702658888."

Veena More Patil, the executive officer and spokesperson of the Siddhivinayak temple, spoke with mid-day and said, "We reviewed the CCTV footage of the temple and found that the midday team entered the temple on October 2 with a shopkeeper named Jitesh, who operates a sweet and flower shop outside the temple. We have also relocated the employee from the PRO department to another department. We checked the list of devotees who took darshan on October 2 but did not find the name of the mid-day team."

"The temple offers the option of quick darshan for a donation of Rs 1500 and Rs 100 for queues. With the Rs 1500 queue, devotees receive a framed picture of the Siddhivinayak idol, a shawl, prasad, and the opportunity to participate in rituals conducted by the temple's pujari," added spokesperson Patil. Sources from the temple reveal that, following the mid-day report, temple staff have increased surveillance both inside and outside the temple and are considering the installation of additional cameras in the temple area to catch agents in the act.

On October 2, the mid-day team exposed how agents were targeting devotees in the VVIP darshan scam. Posing as devotees, the mid-day team met an agent named Bhola outside the temple offering quick darshan services. Bhola introduced his partner, Jitubhai, to the mid-day team, and the rates for quick darshan were discussed, with a total of Rs 3000, including Rs 1900 for VVIP darshan and Rs 1100 for prasad. 

Jitubhai escorted the mid-day team inside the temple and informed one of the PRO staff members to allow all three reporters to bypass the quick darshan line. This PRO employee didn’t record the mid-day team's names or issue a receipt, enabling the team to have darshan within 2 to 3 minutes.

No of hoardings put up by temple authority

Rs 3000
Amount charged for quick darshan

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