Thiruvananthapuram: Latest audit report on Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple which prepared by former comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) Vinod Rai submitted before the Supreme Court on February 3 said 266kg of gold was pilfered over the years from the temple.
According to sources close to Rai said the gold was pilfered from the temple 82 times. Of the 893.44kg of gold taken out from the temple for works only 627kg gold was replaced and the remaining 266kg is missing. Based on the current rate of gold, the missing asset would be worth Rs 85.90 crore.
The report also indicated that of the 82 vessels of precious metals including silver taken out during 2008-09, only 72 were put back and the remaining are missing. It also pointed out irregularities in ‘Kanikka’ (cash) collection and accounts at the temple for about four years amounting to about Rs 8 crore.
In his status report submitted to the Supreme Court on August 1, Rai had said prima facie there was lack of financial control in the custody and use of precious articles at the temple and that more than 72 audit nodes had pointed out discrepancies in temple management.
A special audit authority led by him submitted the report exposing that the Vault B was opened seven times including twice in 1990 and five times during 2002, despite the prevailing belief that prohibits Vault B from being opened. It revealed that silver ingots were taken out and gold was deposited and then taken out.
The report also noted that prima facie there is lack of any credible system in accounting procedures in the temple. Gold from the temple vaults had been taken out for various purposes including plating works at the single stone pillar or Ottakal mandapam, the door and pavilion close to the sanctum sanctorum.
The erstwhile Travancore Royal Family with its headquarters in the capital city is however yet to react on Rai’s report.