Kerala temple lacks ornament info: Ex-CAG to SC

Kerala temple lacks ornament info: Ex-CAG to SC

After conducting a preliminary audit, former comptroller and auditor general Vinod Rai has informed the Supreme Court that the Kerala’s Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple had “incomplete information in its records on the weight and purity of gold and silver items”.

The apex court on April 24 appointed Rai to conduct the audit of the 16th century temple, which is estimated to be housing Rs 1 lakh crore of wealth, after the suggestion of senior advocate Gopal Subramanium.The initial audit found “deficiencies and inadequacies in the maintenance of records” of the temple, which is maintained by the royal family of Travancore.

“The tendering and auction process needs streamlining. The register of temple assets are also not up-to-date and are being scrutinised.Prime facie, there is lack of financial control of the custody and use of precious articles,” the report submitted in the apex court said.

In a report submitted by Subramanium as amicus curiae, it had been pointed out that there was systematic pilferage from the temple’s treasure trove, besides several unaccounted invaluable items being stored in different rooms and gold plating and sheeting machines.

Subsequently, the apex court had appointed Rai to conduct a special audit and allowed him to select a team for the purpose. In its 10-page report, the special audit team comprising seven retired officials said: “Prima facie, there is lack of any credible system in accounting procedure of the temple administration.”

The team, which sought the apex court’s approval for a Rs 60 lakh annual budget for itself, proposed to conduct an initial audit of records of the past 15 years. Subramanium, however, had recommended a complete audit of the temple and its properties for the last 25 years.

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