The Siddhivinayak Ganpati Temple Trust is under the scanner for allegedly helping a shop outside the temple evade octroi duty.
The BMC's vigilance department is probing allegations that the trust bought incense sticks for the shop but showed it off as stock ordered for the temple. The trust is exempt from paying octroi.
Though BMC officials claim the amount could run into lakhs, trust officials have denied the charges, saying the temple had merely given incense sticks to the shop which in turn donated 40 per cent of its sales proceeds to it.
The temple was granted exemption from paying octroi in 2006 as it is a registered, charitable trust. It frequently buys incense sticks from Gujarat for use in the mandir.
A civic official, requesting anonymity, said the vigilance department received a tip-off last month that the temple was getting agarbattis for a private shop outside the temple in its own name. The trust, the official alleged, got 40 per cent of the shop's revenue as its share for doing this.
Following this, the BMC intercepted a truck carrying these sticks. Confirming this, Yeshwant G Lad, deputy assessor & collector (vigilance) said,"We are investigating the charges. The report will be out soon."
However, Subhash Mayekar, chairman of the trust, said,"These allegations are untrue. BMC officials don't have a strong basis for saying this. They asked us why we required so many agarbattis, without thinking about how popular the temple is."
Another official at the trust said,"We used to voluntarily give some agarbattis to the shop, which then voluntarily donates about 40 per cent of its sales proceeds to the temple. This doesn't violate any norms."
The official admitted the BMC hadn't been informed about this.
"It's an internal arrangement which doesn't involve any transfer of money. So we didn't involve them. But we have provided all the information they've asked for, and extended all cooperation for the probe."