Kerala

Padmanabhaswamy temple vault was opened seven times: Vinod Rai

A status report filed by the former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai in the Supreme Court on the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple reveals ïncomplete records maintained on the weight and purity of the temple’s gold and silver valuables, no financial control of the custody and use of precious articles and slack maintenance of temple assets’ register.

Mr. Rai’s report follows a Supreme Court order on April 24, 2014 to conduct a special audit of the temple and its properties “as early as may be possible”.

He points to how the B Kallara was opened twice in 1990 and fives times in 2002. “Silver ingots were taken out and gold vessels were deposited and subsequently taken out,” the report said.

The audit was prompted by an exhaustive but damaging amicus report filed by senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium — an outcome of a 35-day stay on the temple premises — that indicated that gold and silver jewellery offered by devotees to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple were not accounted for by the temple administration.

Graft alleged

The report had complained of corruption, filth, and disregard of ethics in the temple’s administration.

Alarmed by the report, the court had invited Mr. Rai as the Special Audit Authority on Mr. Subramanium's suggestion.

In what seems to be a sequel of the amicus’ findings, Mr. Rai said: “preliminary audit findings point towards deficiencies and inadequacies in maintenance of records. There is also incomplete information provided in the records for the weight and purity of the gold and silver items.

Auction process

The tendering and auction process needs streamlining. The register of temple assets is not also up-to-date”.

Mr. Rai said, “prima facie, there is lack of financial control of the custody and use of precious articles”.

He said over 72 audit notes have been sent to the temple management on the discrepancies and deficiencies, but most of them have not been replied to.

Comprehensive audit

The former CAG proposes to conduct a complete audit of records of the past 15 years in the first phase, and then audit the records of the preceding 10 years in the second round.

Mr. Rai said there is no credible accounting procedures in the temple administration.

He said the long-term objective of this Special Audit is to draw up a “comprehensive and appropriate system of accounting drawing on lessons from the deficiencies of the prevailing system”.


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Printable version | Sep 15, 2021 11:52:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/padmanabhaswamy-temple-vault-was-opened-seven-times-vinod-rai/article6309994.ece

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