Following a special report submitted in April this year by amicus curae , senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, which highlighted several irregularities in the accounts of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala, India, the Supreme Court of India has ordered an audit of the temple’s finances by former Indian Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) Vinod Rai.
Rai said that the report will be done in five to six months. He noted that the temple committee and administration was corperating well with the audit team. “It will go on for about five or six months more at least,” Rai said.
In 2011, the Supreme Court had ordered the opening of the six underground vaults to audit the temple’s inventory of items. The temple has received donations from people form several centuries and was known to contains several kilograms of gold, precious stones and other riches. Alleged irregularities by the temple committee had forced the court to give the order. Over a period of 12 days, the auditors inventoried an estimated 22 billion USD of riches including 700 to 800 kilograms of gold coinds, several heavy golden chains, and emeralds and sapphires, rings, a crown, anklets and other jewellery. Justice CS Rajan, who was part of the audit team recalls, “All these things were strewn and scattered everywhere. They were not really arranged systematically. There were baskets, some earthen pots, some copper pots, and in all these things, these things were kept. It was a magnificent experience. There are no words to describe it.”
The temple is an important one for Lord Vishnu devotees and finds mention in the scriptures such as the Garuda Purana and Vishnu Puran. Rai said that people still have devotion to Padmanabhaswamy. “Anything that is said connected to the deity, people tend to believe. That is why there is lot of faith about one particular vault (Kallara B) and there is lot of superstition about it.”