Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple audit to cost Rs 60 lakh in first year
September, 16th 2014
The state government and Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple administration will have to cough up Rs 60 lakh in the first year for the ongoing audit led by former comptroller and auditor general Vinod Rai.
The special audit authority comprises six former officials from the auditor general's office here and they are paid a monthly honorarium of Rs 35,000.
The team leader will be paid Rs 40,000 and secretary Rs 50,000.
The payment details and other related expenses have raised many an eyebrow, especially when there are many retired officials willing to volunteer their services for auditing.
It is still not clear how long the auditing will take as it involves auditing of temple accounts for the past 25 years.
"The expenses are very high and unwarranted. There are many retired hands willing to take up free voluntary service," a temple official said.
Of the Rs 60 lakh sought, the temple administration will have to provide Rs 12 lakh while the remaining amount will be paid by the state government.
Team supervisor Vinod Rai is offering his service free of cost but Rs 8 lakh is estimated to meet his travel expenses.
Rai had submitted these expenses to the Supreme Court on August 1 while the auditing process, conducted at the behest of the apex court, had begun on May 25.
"I make only occasional visits to oversee the auditing process but the entire team of eight members is working here to complete the audit," Rai said in defense of the monthly payment to the team.
The other expenses for the auditing include Rs 2 lakh for repair and maintenance of office space and furniture, Rs 2 lakh for computers and printers and Rs 2 lakh for stationery items for a year.
An amount of Rs 2 lakh had been estimated for unforeseen expenditures.
Those owing allegiance to the earlier administration said the present state of affairs at the temple violated the Mathilakam rules, which consider working at the temple as a voluntary service to the lord.
They said the royal family members had offered their wealth to the presiding deity and it is their wealth that is kept in the secret vaults of the temple. They had safeguarded the assets as their real custodians, they added.