In a 577-page report submitted to Supreme Court, Amicus Curiae Gopal Subramaniam has urged the court to order an audit of the wealth of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple by former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai.
In his report, in which he has expressed deep anguish about the several serious irregularities in the management of the temple and its wealth, the Amicus Curiae has sought an injunction from the apex court restraining the present trustee and his family members from interfering either directly or indirectly with the day-to-day management of the temple. The court’s intervention was essential “to protect the temple in the interest of the deity as well as Bhaktas” and “to ensure that Sree Padmanabha Swamy receives the pooja, upachara and allied observances which had been maintained in the past,” the Amicus Curiae has said.
The audit, he said, should be undertaken by Mr. Rai and a team of auditors to be appointed by him. He should be assisted by a Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) who will be nominated by the RBI Governor in consultation with the Amicus Curiae. The audit should cover management of the temple, the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust and allied institutions over the past 25 years. Mr. Rai should be empowered to take into custody and seal all documents of the trust properties forthwith, Mr. Subramaniam has suggested.
He also urged the court to direct Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma, the present trustee of the temple, to file an affidavit after consulting relevant records and checking all the bank accounts of the temple. The affidavit should have details of various fixed deposits lying in the bank accounts of the temple and set out the details of the Sree Pandaravaka land belonging to Sree Padmanabha Swamy and details of the alienation of such properties and all documents pertaining to such alienation, if any.
The Amicus Curiae has observed as follows: “Although the palace had resisted the opening of Kallara ‘B’, there are eyewitnesses’ accounts that a member of the palace and the executive officer opened Kallara ‘B’ some years ago (The said executive officer is no longer alive). In fact, Kallara ‘B’ appears to have been opened more than once and there were attempts to photograph the jewellery not for the purpose of safekeeping but possibly to make available such information to buyers as the royal family did believe that these are personal treasures.”
“The large amount of gold and silver, the discovery of which was a shock to the Amicus Curiae, is a singular instance of mismanagement. The presence of a gold plating machine is also yet another unexplained circumstance. This discovery raises a doubt of the organised extraction by persons belonging to the highest echelons,” the Amicus Curiae has said and added, “There appears to be resistance on the part of the entire State apparatus in effectively addressing the said issues. The lack of adequate investigation by the police is a telling sign that although Trivandrum is a city in the State of Kerala, parallelism based on monarchic rule appears to predominate the social psyche.”