India’s Supreme Court is considering a report Wednesday that suggests serious flaws in the security of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple, the historical site where priceless treasures were discovered.
The report raises doubts at the performance of the present administration and says the huge deposits of gold among precious collections may be getting pilfered.
Gopal Subramaniam, the expert appointed by the court to assist it in the custody battle over the riches believed to be worth more than 1,000 billion rupees, said the temple’s wealth must be strictly audited.
The inventory of the riches in five vaults beneath the temple kept by the former maharajas of the princely state of Travancore began three years ago but the process is yet to conclude. Travancore is now part of the southern state of Kerala.
The state’s Communist opposition immediately demanded action against the erstwhile royal family, the present caretaker of the temple, which moved the apex court after Kerala High Court ordered the government takeover of its administration.
The maharajas had dedicated their estate to the deity of the temple in 1750 and the family members believe everything which included in it, belongs to the family deity whose servants they are.
Subrahmaniam, a former solicitor general of India who prepared the report after a marathon inspection, claimed that a gold plating machine on the temple premises might also have been replaced with a fake one.
“This discovery raises doubts of an organized extraction by persons belonging to the highest echelons,” the report says.
Pointing to the possibility of a deep-rooted conspiracy, Subrahmaniam suggested an investigation by the nation’s former auditing chief Vinod Rai.
He also recommended opening of the highly secured Vault B, the only vault yet to be inspected as the Hindu extremists warned of serious consequences.
“There appears to be resistance on the part of the entire state apparatus. The lack of adequate investigation by the police is a telling sign that although Trivandrum is a city in Kerala, parallelism based on monarchic rule appears to predominate the social psyche,” it says.
Inspectors were stunned to discover rare jewels, stone-studded crowns, mounds of gold and silver coins, precious gems and other valuable items accumulated over years when doors of five cellars were opened in July 2011.
Several bags of coins from the erstwhile Travancore royal family rule, coins from the Napoleonic era and the East India Company period were also discovered from the secret cellars.
The report suggests possible existence of two more cellars, unknown to the world so far.