Former Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Vinod Rai submitted a report on the Chamber-B treasure records of Kerala's Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram and revealed several irregularities in its financial and maintenance records.
A myth that a hooded King Cobra with forked tongues, recoiled and ready to strike at a lightning speed shields the temple's chamber had instilled fear in people, avoiding anyone from opening it.
However, Rai told the Supreme Court (SC) that under the delusion of the myth, the temple authorities have opened the chamber five times since 1990, twice in 1990 and thrice in 2002.
"Silver ingots were taken out and gold vessels were deposited and subsequently taken out, as evidenced from the entries in the Mahassar Books and other registers maintained by the treasurer of the temple and as produced before the audit team," Indian Express cited Rai's report.
Rai's audit report on the temple and its properties revealed several irregularities in the maintenance of the temple's register and lack of information on the precious valuables received.
"Preliminary audit findings point towards deficiencies and inadequacies in maintenance of records. There is also incomplete information provided in the records for the weight and purity of the gold and silver items," The Hindu quoted Rai.
"The tendering and auction process needs streamlining. The register of temple assets is not also up-to-date. Prima facie, there is lack of financial control of the custody and use of precious articles," he added.
Rai further revealed that the chamber has wealth more than ₹1 lakh crore consisting of jewellery, idols, weapons, utensils and coins. Meanwhile, the temple's treasure authority is said to have not replied to most of the 72 audit notes sent to the management pointing out discrepancies and deficiencies in the treasure records.
Rai carried out an audit as per the SC orders based on a report submitted by a senior lawyer Gopal Subramaniam, who pointed out the ongoing corruption in financial and valuable records of the temple.
In Subramaniam's report, he had also mentioned that the temple authorities does not maintain records of gold and silver ornaments, that devotees offer to the temple.