The audit report prepared by the former Comptroller and Auditor General of India Vinod Rai on the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala shows that huge quantities of gold were lost when it was outside for purification work.
The report, filed before the Supreme Court, revealed that of a total of 893.644 kg of gold given to contractor for melting and purification in connection with gold ornamentation work, only 627.372 kg was returned.
“The loss in the process being 266.272 kg (30 per cent),” Mr. Rai pointed out in his report to the apex court.
The report said there was a complete “absence” of a system of weighing and ascertaining the purity of gold articles by temple authorities before they were handed over to outside agencies.
In fact, temple authorities “merely relied on the weight and purity reported by the contractor,” Mr. Rai said in his report.
He said that “excess consumption/loss” on conversion of pure gold to 90 per cent gold was 10.4 kg with a present value of Rs.2.89 crore.
Again, the fate of 14.629 kg of 24 carat gold rakes and 1.938 kg of pure gold of an approximate value of Rs.4.8 crore handed over to outside agencies for purification work four years ago is not known.
The loss is not just in gold. The last Murajapom (a festival conducted once in six years) concluded on January 14, 2014, but the calf elephant to be offered to the deity reached around January 27-28. The temple authorities had obviously not fixed the date on which the elephant was supposed to reach the temple. The loss calculated due to this was Rs.35 lakh.