After gold worth Rs 189 cr, antique diamonds missing from Kerala temple, SC told
This is the second theft to be reported from the Padmanabhaswamy temple in the last 10 months. Earlier, gold worth Rs 189 crore was reported missing from the temple famous for its rich vaults.Updated: Jul 03, 2017 11:50 IST
Eight antique diamonds adorning the forehead of an idol at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple were missing, the Supreme Court was told on Monday, the latest theft to be reported from one of the world’s richest Hindu shrines.
The crime branch of the Kerala Police were investigating the theft, senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting the court in a case of alleged mismanagement of the shrine, said in his report about the Thiruvananthapuram-based temple whose wealth is estimated at Rs 1.5 lakh crore.
Though the diamonds, part of the Namam (tilakam), were officially valued at Rs 21 lakh, it was a conservative estimate as the value was “far beyond the figure” because of their antiquity, the report said.
Ten months ago gold worth Rs 189 crore was reported missing from the temple by former comptroller and auditor general of India Vinod Rai.
Asked by the court to audit the temple’s famed treasures, Rai said 769 gold pots were missing.
Questions have been raised over the management of the temple dedicate to Lord Padmanabha. In 2009 a former police officer filed a case in the Kerala high court alleging mismanagement of the assets by the erstwhile royal family of Travancore.
A petition in the Supreme Court has asked that a trust or a separate body be formed to manage the temple, as it riches were being plundered. It has also asked for an inventory of the treasures.
The temple shot to fame seven years ago when the court ordered a list be drawn up of the temple wealth after six underground vaults were discovered. Rare jewels, gold coins, diamond-studded thrones, crowns and gold bars were found when all but one vault were opened.
The Supreme Court will hear the case on Tuesday.