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Status quo in Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case

Thiruvananthapuram,Aug 7 (): The Supreme Court has asked Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple case amicus curiae Gopal Subramanian to reconsider his decision to step down. The court said that the report was factual and told the royal family to not cast personal attacks on Subramanian.

He had returned all the material related to the 35-day investigation. The report is before the Supreme Court and based on the recommendations it has appointed Vinod Rai, former CAG to do an audit of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple revenue and assets. The court asked Rai to submit an interim report.

A state official from the Collectorate has been entrusted with the temple administration. The temple was managed by the Travancore royal family for centuries and they called themselves dasa (servant) of Sree Padmanabhaswamy the main deity and that they were only administering the kingdom for the lord.

A rough estimate put the wealth of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in form of gold, precious stones and rare coins at Rs 1 lakh crore making it India’s richest. This attracted international media attention added to the secret vaults and mystery of one vault which the believers claimed that if opened then the State will face a holocaust.

The reason for Gopal Subramanian to step down was that he said he would not appear in the apex court till the present CJI Lodha had moved out. Lodha retires in September. The earlier case was heard by Lodha who appointed Subramanian. Now a different bench is hearing the case.

Subramanian figured in the list of people to be made judges prepared by SC collegium. Law ministry citing CBI and IB reports asked for a reconsideration of Gopal’s name. Gopal was furious as CJI did not stand up for him and he himself withdrew from the race.

The amicus curiae report came up with explosive findings that suggest the wealth of the temple estimated to be around Rs 1 lakh crore at present were the remains of what had been looted. Gold plating machine in the premises and a jeweller confessing to have got gold to sell it to a merchant in Tamil Nadu were all part of the report. The jeweller later said he was forced to make a confession. There have been selective leaks of the report and it is not clear whether it had named the royal family for the missing wealth.

After the news broke out, it has become a must to pay a visit to the temple, and gate proceedings are now enough to cover the administration expenses. Earlier, the royal family would chip in for the shortfall. The temple tank was ordered to be cleaned and State government has put in place a high security with commandos.

Supporters of the Royal family say that the Sree Padmanbhaswamy case will fall as the report is full of concocted stuff. The royal family has asked a copy of the report on Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case and the documents that amicus curiae returned yesterday to court registar. Legal experts say nothing much is going to change.