It has been noticed and found by the Amicus Curiae as well as the Special Audit Authority led by Shri Vinod Rai that Gold, Silver and other valuable artefacts and jewels of the Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple have gone missing over the years. It has also been noticed that proper records and inventories of the wealth of the Temple were not maintained. The Final Report of the Special Audit Authority appointed by this Hon’ble Court led by Shri Vinod Rai was submitted before this Hon’ble Court on 28th March 2016.
TheAmicus Curiae also found substantial financial mismanagement, irregularities and lack of accounting of gold ornaments and otherarticles belonging to the Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This is set out in thesecond report of the Amicus Curiae submitted before this Hon’ble Court on 15.04.2014. Both, the report of the Special Audit Authority as well as that of the Amicus Curiae have serious findings of mismanagement of the wealth of the Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple.
These findings require to be investigated by an independent Special Investigation Team and consequent action must be ordered against the errant administrators. It is submitted that the SIT may be headed by the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation. In fact, the Vinod Rai led Special Audit Authority has also recommended a detailed probe into the loss of Gold1.
I. Major findings of the Amicus Curiae relating to mismanagement of wealth2:
1. No proper maintenance of books of accounts for previous years. The temple has not even filed Income Tax returns for the financial years 2001- 02 to 2008-093.
2. The Gold and Silver of the theKannikaihas never been accounted. The internal auditor himself admits so4.
3. Temple authorities unable to show any receipts/counterfoils raised against alleged expenses shown in the books of accounts5.
4. Temple authorities were not able to define the complete extent of fixed assets available to them6.
5. According to the Temple’s internal auditor, gold lockets are stored at the
Temple’s Sreekaryam Office and these were not accounted for7.
II. Major findings of the Special Audit Authority led by Shri Vinod Rai, former Comptroller and Auditor General of India8:
1. A discrepancy/shortage of 769 Gold Pots with an aggregate weight of 776kg was found. (Approximate Value: Rs 186 Crores)9.
2. On melting and purification of the Gold, the pure Gold obtained out of 887 kg was only 624 kg resulting in a loss of 263kg (nearly 30%)10.
3. As per entries in the Mahassar Register, the Kallara ‘B’ (Vault ‘B’) had been opened at least seven times during the period from July 1990 to December 200211.
4. The report highlights instances of missing Silver, Gold and other jewels. Unauthorized occupation of Temple Land. Non-payment of rent by occupants of the Temple Lands etc12.
III. Alienation of Immovable Property of the Temple:
The Vinod Rai led Special Audit Authority, in its final report dated 28th March 2016, also noticed that the area actually in possession of the Temple at present is much less than the area of 5.72 acres as per records. There was also unauthorized occupation in some of the areas. In respect of the PanjajanyamKalyanaMandapam, the actual area in possession was only 0.67 acres against 1.82 acres of land originally vested13.
It may be noted that this Hon’ble Court in the order dated 24.04.2014 had prohibited the alienation or transfer or disposal of any temple property in any manner whatsoever until further orders. This order stands till date. It is therefore submitted that a Committee may be appointed, headed by the Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, to carry out an inspection all revenue records todetermine whether any property which belongs to Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple has been alienated/transferred/disposed in any manner whatsoever. The report by this Committee may be submitted before this Hon’ble Court for further orders.
IV. Opening of Kallara ‘B’:
It is submitted that this court may consider the opening of Kallara ‘B’ so that the inventorying process of the Jewels and Treasures of the Shri Padmanabhaswamy Temple is complete. In order to ensure that Kallara ‘B’ is opened, the opinions of the Tantris and the KanipayoorNamboodiripad may be ascertained and the opening of Kallara ‘B’ may be carried out in accordance with traditions, customs and practices of the Temple. As already noted above as well as by the Expert Committee, the Kallara ‘B’ has been opened several times in the past and therefore any apprehensions relating to the opening of Kallara ‘B’ may be unfounded.
MR. GOPAL SUBRAMANIUM, AMICUS CURIAE
DATED: 3rd May 2017