VS demands CBI probe into alleged theft in Padmanabha temple

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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 19: CPI(M) veteran and former chief minister V S Achuthanandan today sought a CBI inquiry into the alleged theft of gold articles from the famous Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple here.

Achuthanandan, in a statement here, said it has been revealed that gold, valued at Rs 186 crore, had been stolen from the secret treasure vaults of the centuries-old shrine. The Marxist leader said both the Supreme Court appointed amicus curiae and the committee headed by former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai had come to the same conclusion that "gold valuables had been stolen."

V S Achuthanandan

"In this circumstances, those who are behind the theft have to be exposed. For this, a CBI inquiry is necessary," Achuthanandan said. He also pointed out that he had years ago publicly stated about the alleged theft at the shrine.

"But, at that time, many people had tried to level false allegations against me," he said, adding observations by the amicus curiae and a committee headed by the former CAG had virtually shut the mouth of these people. There were reports that the committee headed by Vinod 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".

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

PTI

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