- Eight antique diamonds of an idol at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple have been missing
- The crime branch of Kerala police is investigating the theft
- A petition has been asked for the formation of a separate body for the management of the temple
Kerala, July 13, 2017: Eight antique diamonds of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy idol, in the eponymous temple in Thiruvananthapuram, have been missing and the alleged theft is being investigated by the crime branch of the Kerala police, the amicus curiae reported to the Supreme Court.
The issue was raised before a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and D Y Chandrachud by senior advocate Gopal Subramanium, who is assisting as an amicus curiae in the matter. Gopal Subramanium informed the Supreme Court about the role of the missing diamonds as an important part of the daily rituals.
10 months ago, a special audit report by Vinod Rai committee discovered that gold worth Rs 189 crore had mysteriously disappeared from the temple’s cellars. Asked by the court to audit the temple’s famed treasures, Rai said 769 gold pots were missing. Questions over the management of the temple dedicated to Lord Padmanabha have been raised.
Subramanium told the apex court that KN Satheesh, the temple’s outgoing executive officer, reported about the missing diamonds, which according to the report, were kept in cellars near the sanctum sanctorum, in May 2017. The stones are officially valued at over Rs 21 lakh, however, Subramanium believes they were worth much more owing to their antiquity.
“The missing diamonds” were first mentioned in August 2015, the amicus came to know while checking the temple treasurer records. The same case was reported again by a priest in March 2017 and a FIR was registered in August in regard to the same.
The amicus highlighted that the Administrative Committee never pressed for an in-depth inquiry into the case of the missing stones and, instead, used “vague expressions” in order to convince that the diamonds were only “damaged”, and not lost.
A petition has been asked in the Supreme Court in favor of the formation of a separate body for the management of the temple, as its riches were being plundered.
The sprawling temple was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House which ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state with the Indian Union in 1947.
-by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter: goel_samiksha