769 gold pots missing from Kerala temple vaults, SC told

769 gold pots missing from Kerala temple vaults, SC told: A report submitted by the former Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, Vinod Rai, in the Supreme Court shows that 769 gold pots, valued approximately at Rs. 186 crore, are missing from the vast treasures...

Missing gold pots

This refers to the report “769 gold pots missing from Kerala temple vaults, SC told” (The Hindu, August 15). The report is indicative of the helplessness of even statesmen of proven eminence like Vinod Rai in eliciting relevant information from ‘institutions’ like Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple. The reference here is to the embarrassing observation that ‘This would indicate that the total number of gold pots excluding the gold pots if any in B kallaras were only 397…There is a shortage 769 gold pots with an aggregate of 776 kg (approximately valued at Rs 186 crore) would require a detailed probe…’
Temples and religious bodies receive funds and offerings in kind (like gold and jewellery) from public. The assets of this temple also accumulated from such receipts. It is intriguing that governments of all denominations find it difficult to enforce transparency in accounting of assets and liabilities of such organisations.
Kerala can play a lead role in bringing transparency in the working (at least to the extent of keeping a record of accumulated assets, if not sources and uses of funds) of temples, religious bodies and organisations receiving donations higher than a threshold limit annually. As regards Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple, hopefully, the Supreme Court will prioritise and resolve the mystery surrounding the missing gold by first insisting on completion of the preparation of inventory in all vaults including B kallara.

G Warrier, Mumbai  


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