NEW DELHI: The untold riches of Thiruvananthapuram’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, which was discovered three years ago and was estimated at Rs 1 lakh crore, may be getting pilfered, an explosive report on the state of affairs in the temple submitted to the Supreme Court said.
Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam, after a 35-day inspection of the temple, told the court in his report about recent discovery of a gold plating machine in the temple premises and expressed apprehension that some original temple gold and ornaments may have been pilfered and replaced with fakes.
Subramaniam, tasked to report on the state of affairs of the temple as well as the wealth, said there appeared to be a deep-rooted conspiracy in the apparent mismanagement of the temple wealth and suggested a detailed audit by former comptroller and auditor general Vinod Rai.
Importantly, he urged the court to open Kallara (vaults) ‘B’ and assess the wealth in it. Till now, Kallara A to F had been opened and valuables listed, except ‘B’. There was opposition to the opening of vault ‘B’ on various counts, which ranged from religious to dogmatic.
Interestingly, Subramaniam found two more vaults and named them Kallara ‘G’ and ‘H’. He urged the court to order authorities to open these two new vaults and inventorize the valuables.
He also found discrepancies in the general account kept by the temple management and suggested an audit of it. Subramaniam said for the last 30 years, the receipts from devotees had not been accounted for properly and said this was an additional reason for a detailed audit of temple accounts.
Rare jewels, stone-studded crowns, heaps of gold and silver coins, idols and gold, silver and brass platters and lamps, whose value is estimated at nearly Rs 1 lakh crore, were found in the temple in July 2011, catapulting it overnight to one of the richest in the country.
Mounds of precious gems, lakhs of gold coins, long gold chains, gold rings and bars, gold barrels etc were discovered when the metal doors of the secret cellar were opened.
Several bags of coins from the erstwhile Travancore royal family rule, coins from the Napoleonic era and the East India Company period were also discovered from the secret cellars.
The SC had ordered preparation of an inventory of the articles owned by the temple. It had stayed a Kerala high court order directing the state government to take over the temple from the trust controlled by the erstwhile rulers of Travancore.
The deity of the Padmanabhaswamy temple is the family deity of the Travancore royal family. Members of the erstwhile royal family had dedicated their kingdom to the Padmanabhaswamy deity and pledged that they will live as servants of Padmanabha.