Huge Stake Of Gold Missing From Padmanabha Temple: CAG

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Thiruvananthapuram: 769 pots of gold are missing from the treasury of the Padmanabha swamy temple in Thiruvananthapuram. A report submitted by the former Comptroller and Auditor general, Vinod Rai to the Supreme Court says that 186 crore worth of gold is missing from the temple. India Today has exclusive access to the report which clearly indicates that the Padmanabhaswamy Temple wealth may have been pilfered.

The report submitted to the Supreme Court has been compiled in two volumes and five parts running into 1,000 pages The report submitted to the Supreme Court has been compiled in two volumes and five parts running into 1,000 pages.

According to Rai’s report, if 822 gold pots were melted to meet the requirements of gold for ornamental works at the palace, then there should have been at least 1,166 gold pots left in the treasury. But the numbers assigned to gold pots by the expert committee were only 397.

The discrepancy is of 769 gold pots with an aggregate weight of 776 kg approximately valued at Rs 186 Cr. 572.86 g of gold and 2589 grams of silver with an aggregate value of Rs 14.78 lakhs which were received through the hundials while counting has not been entered in the Nadavaravu register.

Out of 22 silver bars taken out of the B vault in Dec 2002, 16 were issued for renovation work. “There were 5 big silver bars weighing an average of 35 kg”, according to the report submitted by Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam. Therefore it would mean that there was a shortage of 1 silver bar of Rs 14 lakh.

The temple did not have a system of ascertaining the weight and purity of gold and silver articles before handing it over to the contractors for ornamentation works. There was a lack of transparency in Kanikka counting. Kanikka registers from Dec 2006 to Nov 2008 were not made available to the special audits authority for scrutiny.

From the vaults C and E which were opened in Aug 2007, 1022 articles including 397 gold pots were photographed. Pots bearing numbers from 1,000 have been used. During his inspection at the Padmanabha Swamy temple, Rai found that one of the pots bearing the number 1988 was taken out.  “This means that there were at least 1988 gold pots available in various kallaras.” Rai mentions in his report that he did not find any album or the photographs or negatives of the items chronicled.

No records have been found on 2.11 acres of land that was sold in 1970, implying it could be an illegal sale. Vinod Rai’s audit has been done for the period between 2004-2014. In 2014, Amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam who had been entrusted with the inspection of the Padmanabha Swamy temple said in his report that a gold plating machine was found in the premises. He was also of the opinion that the gold and other ornaments stored inside vaults in the temple were being pilfered and fake gold was being put in their place.

Rai’s report has been comprehensive and he has also made the observation that there has been an “abnormal” increase in expenditure at the temple and he has recommended a committee to probe into these irregularities.

India Today

 

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