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Report before Supreme Court says 8 diamonds missing from Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple

Tuesday, Jul 4, 2017,10:05 IST By joji A A A

New Delhi | A report on the historic Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple of Thiruvananthapuram submitted before the Supreme Court has claimed that eight diamonds, which were a part of the temple treasure, have been reported as missing.
The recent report filed in the apex court by senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who is assisting as an amicus curiae in the matter, said an FIR was lodged on August 6, 2016 and the present valuation of the precious stones was not reflected from the registers, which have maintained the values of the ornaments prevailing at least 70-80 years ago.
It said that as per reports, the missing stones and ornaments were valued at Rs 21.7 lakh.
“The amicus curiae notes with some regret that eight diamonds which are a part of the Namam (tilakam) of the Lord have been reported as missing. The amicus curiae requested the original registers be produced before him. Upon inspection of the records, the amicus curiae was distressed to note that the expression ‘damaged’ (used euphemistically), is truly intended to convey ‘missing’,” the report said.
The matter was today listed before a bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar but was adjourned and could be heard in the near future.
The report said when the records were produced before the amicus, it was noted that the fact of missing diamonds was recorded on August 20, 2015, in the Nambi’s report of March 11, 2016, and in the FIR on August 6 last year.
He, however, regretted that the administrative committee used “vague expressions” and referred to media reports, suggesting that the diamonds may have been damaged and not lost, while the temple records clearly showed that these were eight diamonds from the Namam of the Lord and were missing.
“In fact, if it was not for a direct query from the amicus curiae when he had Darshan, the factum of these eight missing diamonds would not have surfaced,” the report said.
“In the opinion of the amicus curiae, the committee should have at least conducted an in-depth enquiry. The amicus curiae is of the humble belief that under the circumstances, the explanations of the administrative committee and the actions of the executive officer have not exuded confidence.
“It is respectfully submitted that this court may ensure a thorough probe into the matter and seek an urgent status report on the said missing diamonds,” it said.
The controversy over the administration and management of the temple has been pending in the apex court for last few years in the wake of charges of financial irregularities.
The sprawling temple, an architectural splendour in granite, was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House which had ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947.
Even after India’s independence, the temple continued to be governed by a trust controlled by the erstwhile royal family for whom Lord Padmanabha (Vishnu) is their family deity.
The executive officer had informed the amicus that the matter has been referred to the crime branch of police and was under investigation and the district judge has also been requested to look into the matter.
The apex court had on May 9 directed that a new executive officer should be appointed for the temple by June 18 in consultation with the temple trust.
The bench had agreed to change the existing executive officer of the temple committee against whom several allegations were levelled.
It had on May 3 suggested to the stakeholders, including the temple management committee and the Travancore royal family, to sit together and decide the names of experts for renovation of the historic Padmanabhaswamy temple without tampering with its archaeological heritage.
Senior advocate Krishan Venugopal, appearing for the Travancore royal family, had earlier said there were several allegations against the executive officer of the temple management committee which cannot be brushed aside.
Subramaniam had earlier expressed satisfaction over the manner in which the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) and the temple management were executing the court’s order on cleaning the two water tanks at the Kerala temple.
Earlier, the court had granted two months to the KWA to clean these water tanks. The government had fixed an estimate of Rs 28 lakh for the cleaning work.