New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday appointed a five-member expert committee to supervise the unearthing and preservation of assets of the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Kerala.
The committee will be headed by director general of National Museum C. V. Ananda Bose and will also consist of representatives of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Virtually taking over the work of monitoring unearthing of assets, a bench headed by justices R. V. Raveendran and A. K. Patnaik said that the expert committee would submit its report only to this court.
The court also appointed a three-member committee to oversee the work of unearthing of temple assets.
Criticizing media reports on the worth of temple assets, the court asked the press to show care and restrain from such speculation.
The three-member overseeing committee will consist of retired judge of Kerala high court, Justice M. N. Krishnan, the erstwhile Prince of Travancore Marthanda Varma and a government representative of the rank of secretary.
The court also directed that no unauthorized person will be allowed to be present at the site of unearthing of assets and directed that the entire process be videographed and photographed.
The bench directed the state government to provide adequate security in the temple premises to protect the assets which according to media reports are estimated to be over Rs1.50 trillion.
The apex court passed the order on an application filed by Marthanda Varma and his other family members, challenging a Kerala high court ruling of 31 January this year, ordering takeover of the assets and management of the shrine by the state.
The bench had earlier expressed apprehension that the massive wealth was perhaps at a “risk” in view of the widespread publicity given about it in the media.