Millennium Post

When guards go missing

The absence of guards who were so far believed to be watching over a treasure trove is good news. Former Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai found the reptiles missing from around the mysterious Vault-B, the secret treasure chamber in Shree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, when he dared to reach out to patal lok, mythically believed to be the abode of snakes.

The belief that a hooded cobra with forked tongues, ready to strike at lightning speed, protected Vault-B has fallen flat. Rai has told the Supreme Court that the chamber was indeed opened twice in 1990 and even as recently as 2002 when silver ingots were taken out and gold vessels deposited.

The revelation has come as a challenge for unsubstantiated and half-baked research works of the likes of Emily Hatch whose book titled Travancore: A Guide for the Visitor lent credence to the cobra theory. Opening of several vaults in 2011 had led the authorities to wealth whose estimated worth ran into Rs 1 lakh crore.  

What is way more important than the missing cobra is that Rai’s report also finds ‘serious deficiencies and inadequacies’ in maintenance of records and ‘lack of financial control’ over custody and use of precious articles. Earlier, Gopal Subramanium in his report to the Supreme Court had also pointed at a possible stealth in an organised manner by the highest echelons which should give the court a hint on who the real ‘cobras’ are in  the Padmanabhaswamy Temple. The money in question is huge and now that the lid is off the closely-guarded secret, stern action must be initiated against the authorities who should be asked to come clean on the issue of accounts and utilisation of this huge reserve of wealth.

The people of the country had watched with bated breath the ‘gullible’ Archaeological Survey of India’s naive hunt for gold inspired by the dream of Shobhan Sarkar in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh. Should the people of India also be told how this wealth is utilised in cases where it is indeed found? The hunt for the cobra can go on simultaneously. 
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