Apex court names panel to evaluate Kerala temple treasure

July 21st, 2011 - 8:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 21 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday set up an experts committee to make an inventory of the treasure found from Kallara (vault) A of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple in Kerala.

An apex court bench of Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice A.K. Patnaik said the committee of five experts will videograph and photograph the articles found in Kallara A.

Diamonds, rubies, gold jewellery and other valuables worth an estimated Rs.1 lakh crore have been found in chambers of the temple by a Supreme Court-appointed team. Five of the six chambers of the temple have been opened so far.

The experts committee will categorise all the articles broadly under three heads - ornaments of historical, artistic and antique value, those which are of regular use, and those which are of monetary value only.

It will suggest steps for long-term preservation and security of the treasure and also the feasibility of setting up a high-security museum within the temple complex, the court said.

The court barred any unauthorised person from being present when the committee would take out the treasure from the vault for preparing the inventory.

The committee will also examine the necessity of opening Kallara B, which remains closed, at all.

The committee will be headed by Director General of National Museum C.V. Ananda Bose. Other members of the committee include M.V. Nair and a nominee each of the Archaeological Survey of India, the Reserve Bank of India and the executive office of the temple.

The experts committee will report to the apex court only, the court said.

The court appointed another three-member committee, to be headed by Justice M.N. Krishnan, to oversee the operations of the experts committee. The three-member committee will include former prince of the erstwhile Travancore princely state Sree Marthanda Varma and a nominee of the Kerala government.

The court directed the state government and the temple trust to bear the expenses of the experts committee.

The court also restrained the media from speculating on the value of the temple’s treasure.

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