Kerala temple treasure: Trial documentation on Feb 9

Kerala temple treasure: Trial documentation on Feb 9

A joint-sitting of Supreme Court-appointed committees Sunday decided on a Feb 9 trial run of documenting the treasure unearthed at the famed Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple.

"On Feb 15, we are planning to submit a report to the Supreme Court on the trial run and we expect to begin the official documentation process either on Feb 17 or 18,"  said M.V.Nair, who was earlier this month appointed chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed expert panel to evaluate the treasure found in the temple vaults.

Nair replaced former chairman C.V. Ananda Bose, who has retired from service and Sunday’s meeting was the first after Nair took over. Sunday's meeting took place after the Kerala government had sanctioned Rs. 2.50 crore for the documentation process.

State public sector firm Keltron has obtained the state-of-the-art equipment required for the speedy examination and documentation of the priceless treasure that was unearthed last year.

“Most of the equipment has arrived and we wanted to have a mock run of the documentation process and it could take two or three days. After that we will give a report to the apex court,” added Nair.

According to earlier reports, the temple is believed to have a treasure trove of precious jewels which is estimated to be worth more than Rs.1 lakh crore, making it one of the richest temples in the world.

In all, there are six vaults in the temple, of which five have been opened based on a petition filed by a former IPS official T.P.Sunderarajan. It was in July last year that the Supreme Court-appointed committee stumbled upon the treasure from the vault A, which was unopened for more than 150 years.

That still left vault B to be opened. But Sunderarajan passed away July 17, 2011.Following this, the apex court again intervened and in August an apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik appointed two committees -- one consisting of five experts headed by Bose to videograph and photograph the articles found in vault A of the temple and a three-member committee headed by Justice M.N. Krishnan to oversee the operations of the experts committee.

Since Bose retired from service, the state government asked the apex court to appoint Nair, a conservationist by profession who was already a member in the committee, as its chairman and the court agreed to this.