Former IPS officer TP Sunderarajan Iyer (70), instrumental in the opening of Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple’s chambers having treasure reportedly worth more than Rs 1 lakh crore, died early Sunday.
Iyer’s family members said he suffered a heart attack and died in his home in the western precincts of the temple.
Iyer, who had also served in the intelligence bureau and the security staff of former prime minister Indira Gandhi, was the first to move court seeking transparency and accountability in running the temple.
Later, the Kerala high court had ordered the state government to take over the temple from the Travancore royal family, which had floated a trust to run it. But the family moved the Supreme Court and there was a stay on the high court order.
The SC then formed a special panel to prepare an inventory of the temple’s riches.
Though some people were unhappy with him for dragging the issue to court, Iyer was unperturbed. “Why should I be scared? It is God’s will,” he had told HT last week.
The special panel has opened five of the six chambers. The unopened chamber, last opened 136 years ago, is said to have more treasure than the rest.
Iyer’s efforts led to the shrine being seen in the league of richest temples in India.