Even as the appointment of Executive Officer by the State government to the Chidambaram Natarajar Temple is locked in a legal battle, the officer concerned has a sent a notice to the Podhu Diskshithars’ Sabha seeking clarification on a highly priced coral necklace donated recently by devotees.

Last November, Chidambaram Sahari Ammal—Viswanatha Iyer family donated the Italian red coral necklace set in 20 sovereigns of gold to the temple.

The value of the ornament is said to be Rs 3.5 crore. The jewel is scheduled to adorn the main deity during the Arudhra Darshan fete that falls on December 18.

Meanwhile, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment (HR & CE) Department- appointed Executive Officer of the temple K.Murugan has sent a communication to Kasiraja Dikshithar, Sabha secretary, seeking clarification on the necklace.

Mr. Murugan told The Hindu that his department had sought information on the real worth of the coral necklace and the particulars of the donors. It was customary in the HR & CE Department-run temples that whenever valuables were donated to the temples they must be handed over to the Executive Officer concerned and the full description of the donated articles duly recorded.

Once these formalities were completed the articles would become the property of the temples. But in the case of the coral necklace the department had come to know of it only through the press and media.

Mr. Murugan further said that the jewel should have been entrusted to the HR & CE Department, but the Dikshithars had not done it so far. When contacted, Kasiraja Dikshithar, secretary of the Sabha, said after receiving the necklace, a proper receipt was issued to the donors.

As to whether the donation should be reported and entrusted to the HR & CE Department, the Dikshithar said that he had to seek legal opinion in this regard.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National