Former Siddhivinayak temple trustees accused of corruption

A view of Siddhi Vinayak Temple at Mumbai.   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

A group of devotees on Tuesday threatened to protest outside Siddhivinayak Temple on February 25, demanding action on complaints of corruption by the temple trust.

They have alleged that former trustees spent lakhs of rupees under the guise of study tours. Though the misappropriation of funds has been brought to the notice of the government, no action or inquiry has been initiated, they have said.

The group, Shree Siddhivinayak Mandir Trust Bhrashtachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti, had carried out an audit of the temple trust accounts in 2016 and found that the trustees had spent over ₹12 lakh in the name of study tours between January 2015 to August 2016. Temple trust law does not allow such expenses. “We brought this misappropriation to the notice of the Ministry of Law and Justice. We submitted all the proof we had. But till date, we have not heard anything from them,” said Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, the legal consultant of the group. He said the organisation will stage a protest on February 25 if the temple trustees are not booked by the authorities.

Mr. Ichalkaranjikar said former trustee Praveen Naik had organised a tour to the Siddhivinayak Cancer Hospital in Miraj from January 27 to 29, 2015. “But one of the bills submitted by him is for a hotel in Goa. What was he doing in Goa?” he asked.

He said several study tours were carried out for donation of electronic appliances and the government’s water conservation scheme Jalyukt Shivar. “But the government has a budget for the scheme. What was the need to undertake a trip?” he asked.

Ajay Sambhus, the group’s coordinator, said if the government fails to take action against the corrupt, the group will organise several protest campaigns.

The current temple trust was formed six months ago. Chairman Adesh Bandekar said the new trustees have nothing to do with the allegations. “They are talking about the period between 2004 and 2016,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 8:44:16 AM |

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