CPI-M wants SC's amicus curiae in temple case removed

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Senior counsel Gopal Subramaniam is loyal to the erstwhile Travancore royal family and not fair in discharge of his duties as the Supreme Court's amicus curiae in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case here, the Communist Party of India-Marxist alleged Thursday.

"He was appointed to help the apex court in the temple case and what he is doing now is going beyond his brief. Apart from being a lawyer, he is acting as a loyal follower of the erstwhile Travancore royal family," said CPI-M state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan.

In July last year, an apex court committee stumbled upon six vaults in the temple and with just Bault B left yet to be opened, the treasure that has been found in the five vaults has been estimated to be worth over Rs.1 lakh crore.

The affairs of the temple are run at present by an executive committee which has members from the temple, besides representatives from the royal family of Travancore.

Stocktaking of the temple's treasures started after T.P. Sunderarajan, a former Indian Police Service officer, approached the apex court alleging mismanagement of temple affairs.

Sunderarajan passed away last July.

"Last week the amicus curiae submitted a report to the apex court mentioning that Aditiya Varma, a member of the royal family here, should be appointed chief executive officer of the temple committee. He also submitted that the committee to be formed should be free of political leaders. This clearly shows that he is behaving in a manner to hand over the temple and its wealth to vested interests. We strongly oppose this," Vijayan said.

The CPI-M leader also said that as the stock taking process is on, the idols in the possession, the jewellery that is used to deck up the idols on special occasions and all the material items that are used in temple rituals should be kept with the temple itself.

"The wealth now in possession of the temple includes offerings of various types given by the devotees and also the precious items which were seized when the erstwhile kings of Travancore took over smaller kingdoms here. We want this to be kept separately and a public debate to be initiated to find out what needs to be done and we welcome even an all-party meeting to be called by the state government to discuss this," said Vijayan.

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