Padmanabhaswamy Temple's trust books for 25 years must be audited, SC told

cag, padmanabhaswamy temple, vinod rai, gopal subramanian, supreme court, justice lalit

The administrative committee, which runs the Padmanabhaswamy temple, possibly the richest temple in the world, on Friday claimed in court that the temple was in financial problems and demanded that the accounts of the temple and the trust, which previously ran it, must be audited.

Court amicus Gopal Subramanian had, in 2014, suggested a special audit by former CAG Vinod Rai into the accounts of the temple and the trust for the past 25 years. That hasn’t been done yet.

On Friday, the administrative committee in charge of the temple affairs told the court that the temple was facing financial problems and that the accounts of the temple and the temple trust for the past 25 years must be audited.

The temple trust said it wasn’t opposed to audit of its financial affairs but drew the line at being made subservient to any other committee associated with the temple management. This stand was conveyed by senior advocate Arvind P Datar to a three-judge bench led by Justice UU Lalit. The Trust had initially opposed any special audit of its affairs, prompting the temple administration committee, headed by the district judge, to argue that the temple was in financial problems and there was a need for the audit of the accounts of both for the past 25 years.

Datar claimed that the temple trust was already being audited. But it wasn’t opposed to audits of its accounts for the past 25 years.

The administrative committee, through senior advocate R Basant, claimed that the temple was in financial difficulties. He claimed that the trust had cash and other assets worth ₹2.89 crore in cash and ₹1.95 crore in assets. Datar contested these cash and assets figures as that of 2014. The trust had no role in the actual management of the temple affairs now, he said.

Basant, however, said that the trust used to run the affairs of the temple and hence both the temple and the trust’s accounts for the past 25 years need to be audited.

The top court, after hearing both sides, reserved its order on the issue.

The Padmanabhaswamy temple had hit the headlines when a court-appointed committee stumbled upon a huge stash of gold and other ornaments. This earned the temple the epithet of being the richest temple in the world.

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