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Temple wealth: Gold worker retracts statement to Amicus Curiae

Temple wealth: Gold worker retracts statement to Amicus Curiae

Thiruvananthapuram: A gold worker who was quoted by the Amicus Curiae in his report in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case as having admitted that he had connived with former head of Travancore royal to take certain quantity of gold out of the temple complex Tuesday retracted his statement.

Raju, a city-based gold worker, said he made such a statement under duress and he was not part of any such malpractice or any one compelled to do so.

"I was pressurised (to make such a statement)... The reason appears to be mysterious... It seems that they wanted to implicate some persons," Raju told reporters.

Amicus Curiae Goapal Subramaniam last week submitted a comprehensive report to the Supreme Court pointing out alleged mismanagement of the temple wealth.

The report had suggested that there had been instances of gold being smuggled out allegedly with the connivance of the trustees of the rich temple, whose underground vaults contain immense treasures.

The Amicus Curiae had called for scientific auditing of the treasures by a team preferably led by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai.

The report also wanted the court to restrain the head of the Travancore Royal family from interfering in the day-to-day affairs of the temple as its trustees.

Subramaniam, who drew up the comprehensive report staying for several days in the Kerala capital, cited several instances of "mismanagement" and even possibility of organised extraction by highly placed persons.

The family shrine of the Travancore royal house that ruled South Kerala for centuries, Sree Padmanabhawamy temple hogged worlwide media glare in 2011 as a court-ordered inventory confirmed that its underground vaults contained huge treasures.

With a litigant seeking higher transparency in the management of the shrine and its riches, the apext court ordered the inventory of the treasures.

The royal house has approached the Supreme Court against the High Court order directing the government to look into the possibility of taking over the temple.


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