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Theft from Padmanabha Temple: Royal family terms Rai report as unbelievable

Theft from Padmanabha Temple: Royal family terms Rai report as unbelievable

Thiruvananthapuram: The Travancore royal family Monday came out against an audit report by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai over alleged theft of gold valuables from the Sree Padmanabha Swamy shrine here, saying it was never consulted in its preparation.

Adithya Varma, a member of the the erstwhile royal family which had earlier managed the centuries-old shrine, said, "Such huge difference in the figures (regarding the gold valuables) in the report is unbelievable."

"It has pained us," he said, adding they had not been consulted before the compilation of the report submitted in the Supreme Court.

"We have not been consulted before the report was prepared. If we were consulted, it would not have happened," Varma told a regional channel here.

The royal family member also said old Malayalam numerals were used in the temple records and the "mistakes" in the figures might have happened while translating it.

His reaction came in the wake of reports that the Supreme Court-appointed committee, headed by Rai, had found abnormal increase in the expenditure at the temple and gold pots valued at Rs 186 crore had gone missing and that it had recommended constitution of a panel to probe the "irregularities".

The royals had said in a statement last week that Rai committee had submitted the report without seeking any type of explanation from temple Executive Officer, Treasurer or those in responsible positions during the period from April 2002 to April 2014 or from anyone from the royal family.

CPI(M) veteran and former chief minister V S Achuthanandan recently sought a CBI probe into the alleged theft.

One of the richest temples in south India, the shrine is now under the administration of a committee appointed by the apex court as a case is pending over issues related to its management. The Administrative Committee is headed by a district and sessions judge. The temple, dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, shot to fame after treasures worth crores of rupees were found in the secret vaults of the temple basement four years ago.

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