To intervene in ‘extremely serious matter’
Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that large quantities of gold and silver jewellery given by devotees as offerings to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram had not been accounted for by the temple administration.
A Bench of Justices R.M. Lodha and A.K. Patnaik, taking note of his submissions, described the report as “disturbing” and said it would intervene in “an extremely serious matter.”
Mr. Subramaniam said: “There was failure on the part of the temple management to account effectively for the offerings whether in cash/currency/gold/silver ornaments. The auditors of the temple have failed in performing their ethical duties.”
He said numerous trusts had been formed and many accounts were opened in different banks, which prima facie, revealed a breach of trust. He said a large amount of gold and silver was found in the temple along with a gold plating machine.
Mr. Subramaniam alleged that despite the apex court’s order that the kallaras (lockers) should not be opened, all of them were opened and in one case, the seal was broken. He said: “Locker B appears to have been opened more than once. There are no inventories of the lockers.” He said apart from lockers A to F, lockers G and H were also found.
He urged the court to ensure that the lockers were sealed and keys entrusted with the district judge, Thiruvananthapuram.
He said he could see broken pieces of the main deity’s idol, weighing 2 kg, kept in a bag. He said for 10 years the temple had not filed its Income Tax returns.
Mr. Subramaniam sought the court’s permission to seek the former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai’s help to audit the inventories in the lockers.
The amicus curiae expressed anguish that the prasadam sold to devotees was being outsourced. He wanted this practice to be stopped immediately.