Devaswom's inquiry report recommends police probe
The Deputy Devaswom Commissioner (DDC) for Thiruvabharanom, attached to the Travancore Devaswom Board, has recommended a detailed police investigation into the reported missing of certain gold articles offered by devotees to the Bhagavathy Temple at Malayalapuzha.
The DDC, M. Satheeshkumar, has conducted a preliminary inquiry into the reported missing of gold articles worth Rs.70,000, belonging to Malayalapuzha Temple Devaswom, from the TDB strong room at Aranmula. The inquiry was ordered on the basis of a report filed by assistant devaswom commissioner, Aranmula.
In his inquiry report submitted to the TDB Commissioner on November 2, 2010, Mr. Satheeshkumar said that a gold necklace, a gold coin and two gold lockets had been missing from the TDB strong room at Aranmula for the past three years.
The gold articles were offered to the Malayalapuzha Temple by a devotee on March 16, 2006, which was recorded in the devaswom register by the then temple administrative officer T.A. Madhusoodhanan Pillai. However, the offerings were reportedly missing since 2007.
The DDC's preliminary inquiry has found “criminal lapses” on the part of a deputy commissioner, two assistant commissioners and an administrative officer attached to TDB who have functioned as administrative officers at the temple from June 6, 2006 to July 1, 2010.
The DDC's report says that the strong room mahazar states that the then devaswom administrative officer, K. Vijayan, (presently Deputy Devaswom Commissioner, Administration, at Devaswom Commissioner's office in Thiruvananthapuram), had taken the gold articles from the temple, recorded them in the TDB strong room register, before keeping them in the strong room at Aranmula on July 17, 2006. A copy of the strong room mahazar proving the same has been attached with the inquiry report.
Administrative officers K.S. Sujatha Kumari, P.S. Sureshkumar and P.D. Vimalkumar, who assumed charge at Malayalapuzha temple devaswom in the successive years, reportedly failed to mention the missing articles when they handed over charge to successors.
Foul play alleged
TDB sources allege foul play by certain officials to protect the culprits by keeping Devaswom Commissioner N. Vasu, who is a former judicial officer attached to the State Vigilance Tribunal, in the dark about the recommendation for a police probe into the crime.
TDB sources told The Hindu that this was the first time that gold articles from the well-guarded devaswom strong room had gone missing. They demanded a detailed police investigation into the crime, apart from a thorough stock verification at other devaswom strong rooms.