The Kerala temple where gold, silver and gems worth billions of dollars were discovered three years ago in secret vaults will be audited by Vinod Rai, the Supreme Court said.
Mr. Rai has served in the past as the national auditor; his allegations of massive malpractices in the areas of telecom and coal mining licenses left the government severely bruised.
The Supreme Court has also appointed a committee of five people to temporarily manage the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, which dates back to the 16th century and is dedicated to Lord Shiva. In a scathing explanation of their decision, judges said, “The (temple) trustees have failed very badly… they can’t continue… if it is returned to them, let God save the temple.”
The main trustee is the head of the former royal family of Travancore. He has been asked to hand over the keys to all secret vaults to the new committee, which has been asked to complete an inspector and inventory of the temple’s vast wealth.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court expressed its concern over a detailed report that alleged blatant malpractices and corruption by the trustees. The report was presented by famous lawyer Gopal Subramaniam, who had been asked by judges to help them determine whether the temple was being grossly mismanaged.
The Kerala High Court has already ruled that this temple in Thiruvanthapruam, like most others in the state, should be managed by the government. The former royal family of Travancore has appealed against that verdict in the Supreme Court.