Probe to trace missing gold in temple

Nine gold plated beads of a rudraksha rosary was found missing during a stock verification led by the newly appointed head priest last month, says officials.

The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has launched a probe to locate the missing portions of a gold jewel, which forms part of the Thiruvabharanam ( sacred jewellery) of the presiding deity at the historic Ettumanur Mahadeva temple in Kottayam.

Officials said as many as nine gold plated beads of a rudraksha rosary, which contained a total of 81 beads and 21 grams of gold, were found missing during a stock verification led by the newly appointed head priest last month. The verification, carried out in the presence of the TDB officials including an assistant commissioner, is also reported to have bought to light the presence of a new gold chain among the jewellery.

Based on the finding, the TDB vigilance held a preliminary verification at the temple, followed by a probe announced by the Thiruvabharanam Commissioner.

The TDB president N.Vasu has sought a report on the episode. “A preliminary verification has pegged the loss to be about seven grams of gold and a probe is on to ascertain whether a theft indeed took place. Efforts are also on to confirm whether a gold chain, which is not included in the official accounts, was found among the Thiruvabharanam”, he said.

Meanwhile, the board has also sought explanation on an alleged attempt by a few officials to hush up the case, which came to light at least a month ago. “The new head priest was appointed early last month and the verification of stock must have occurred soon afterward. The board, however, received a report on the suspected theft only the other day”, added Mr.Vasu.

Official sources said a few other valuable items including a silver pot, which was used for the daily rituals, were too reported to be missing from the temple. To confirm this, a complete verification of stock is presently being carried out at the temple.

The sacred jewellery of the main deity at the temple, which are used for the rituals on a daily basis, are generally kept under the head priest’s custody while the TDB, on its part, maintains a register of these ornaments. The remaining articles, which are not used on a daily basis, are kept in a strong room.

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