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Kerala government criticised over gold aACAypilferage' from temple.

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala's United Democratic Front government faced criticism from the opposition on Sunday, following media reports that the amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court had pointed out pilferage of significant amounts of gold from the famed Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple.

The temple in the state capital had traditionally been under the control of the erstwhile Travancore royal family. Following the discovery of gold, precious stones and jewellery valued at roughly Rs1 trillion in the temple's vaults, the state government has been providing security to the temple. The treasure find at the temple in 2011 brought international media attention on the temple.

Following the amicus curiae's stinging criticism of the temple administration including the manner in which the auditors of the temple have conducted their work, the opposition has turned its guns on the Congress-led UDF government.

Opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan said the state government and the Travancore royal family ought to take the blame for the gold missing from the temple as reported by the amicus curiae. Achuthanandan said the government and the Devaswom minister should apologise to the people for the loss of gold from the temple.

The amicus curiae report submitted to the apex court had pointed out that the smuggling of gold out of the temple premises was with the knowledge of the "top echelons" of the administration. Achuthanandan said he had pointed out the gaps in various aspects of the temple administration in the past, and that his observations were dismissed contemptuously. He said the amicus curiae report vindicated his stand regarding the manner in which the temple is managed.

Former Devaswom minister G. Sudhakaran said the temple administration should be brought under the control of the state government. He said if gold had indeed been smuggled out of the temple, those responsible for it should be prosecuted. Sudhakaran said there was no basis to the argument that there were "limitations" in taking charge of the temple administration, and demanded that a transparent administrative set-up be established.

Meanwhile, Thiruvananthapuram-based jeweller K. Raju who was quoted in the amicus curiae report of having received 17kg of gold for ornament-making, said he was quoted out of context in the report.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Apr 21, 2014
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