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Friday, 6 September 2013

Reserve Bank of India Eyes Temple Gold? - Ram Kumar Ohri, IPS (Retd)

No one knows what is cooking in the cook-house of our flambuoyant Finance Minister, P. Chidambram.  The truth perhaps is known only to the ruling Trimurti of Sonia Gandhi, Ahmed Patel and Dr. Manmohan Singh. The Finance Minister, too, is a bit-player in the ongoing gold-game!

Despite an official denial in the Parliament that the central government has no intention of grabbing temple gold to tide over the looming monetary crisis and freefall of Indian Rupee, a number of temples in Kerala are reported to have received letters from the Reserve Bank of India seeking details about the quantum and value of gold held by them. This has caused a fresh wave of panic among Hindu worshippers, not only in Kerala but several parts of south India because a majority of temples in south India are managed by Devasthan Boards controlled by respective State governments. The Regional Director of of RBI, Gangadharan is reported to have confirmed to IANS that such a communication has been sent to the temple authorities. 

Ever since July 2011 when a Supreme Court appointed Committee stumbled upon six vaults of  the famous  Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple of Thiruvananthapuram the treasures worth several lakh crores have received the attention of the financially- stressed central government, despite official denials notwithstanding. The common refrain in whisper-tones across Lutyen’s New Delhi is under whose orders the Reserve Bank of India has asked for this gilt-edged information totally beyond the role assigned to the central bank!  

The Reserve Bank of India is the central bank of India. Its functions and role in managing the monetary system has been elaborated in the RBI Act, 1934.  But the aforesaid legislation does not authorize the central bank to quantify and oversee the gold held by Hindu temples. Then why and how this letter has been addressed to temples of Hindu community alone!

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