The Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) Department brought under its control the day to day functioning of the famous Tiruporur Murugan temple and management of its properties, including hundreds of acres of land, in the wake of allegations that the Adheenam of the temple was trying to sell off the lands.

“We came to know about the plans to sell 17 acres of temple land through newspaper advertisement. So we acted under section 23 of the HR&CE Act, 1959, which has vested us with emergency powers to intervene and appoint an administrator in the wake of mismanagement of the temple,” P.R. Shampath, Commissioner of the department told The Hindu.

The temple off the Chennai-Mamallapuram High Road has 356 acres of wetland and 269 acres of dryland, besides scores of properties and buildings in various parts of Chennai.

“The administration of the temple is with HR&CE and we have been leasing the lands through auction and collecting rents. The Adheenam is the hereditary trustee of the temple,” Mr. Shampath said.

Tiruporur Adheenam is one of the many Saivite mutts that are headed by married men. Chidambara Sivagnana Swamigal, the 92-year-old head of the mutt, was in news a few days ago after there was a failed attempt to kidnap him.

Mr. Shampath, who visited the temple on Thursday to see the new arrangements, said earlier the Adheenam had tried to sell a property in Triplicane and the department stopped the attempt.

The order for appointing the administrator was issued on Tuesday and Ashok Kumar, Assistant Commissioner of the department from Kancheepuram, took charge on Wednesday. Besides Balasubramaniam, the executive officer of the Marundeeswarar temple, Tiruvanmiyur has been appointed the executive officer.

Mr. Shampath said the Adheenam had obtained pattas for the lands, though the properties belonged to the temple and could not be sold.

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