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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Ready to keep temple wealth in museum: Kerala CM

PTI  Thiruvananthapuram, June 18, 2014
First Published: 17:08 IST(18/6/2014) | Last Updated: 18:49 IST(18/6/2014)

If the Supreme Court permits the Kerala government is ready to take out treasures found in the underground vaults of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple and exhibit them in a museum, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

The CM said the state government has not received the report of the amicus curiae submitted to the Supreme Court about the alleged smuggling of temple treasures. The case was coming up in the apex court on August 6 and the state would submit its response before this.
 
Lauding the erstwhile Travancore royal family, the former custodian of the age-old temple, he said preservation of treasure by the royals was a clear example of their conviction and trust. Responding to a query in the state assembly the CM said people who criticize the royal family too often should also see their contributions.
 
After amicus curiae Gopal Subramaniam's report the Supreme Court had divested the managerial power from the royal family and appointed a committee to run the affairs of the temple.  State Temple Affairs Minister V S Sivakumar also said the government was not aware of the alleged smuggling of treasure from the temple.
 
The state would inform the court its decision to set up an administrative model like Tirupati or Guruvvayour for the management of the temple, he said. All necessary security has been installed at the temple as directed by the apex court. Auditing of the assets and wealth of the temple was progressing. The SC had had recently appointed former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai to audit entire assets of the temple.
 
The temple, situated at the heart of the state capital, shot to fame four years ago when the apex court ordered inventorying of the temple wealth situated in six underground vaults which was later coded  "A to F." Except B all others vaults were opened and wealth was estimated around Rs. one lakh crore. Rare jewels, gold coins, diamond-studded thrones and crowns and gold bars were recovered from cellar 'A' when it was opened in 2011. The 'B' cellar is yet to be opened and it is expected that it contains more than "A' vault treasure.


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