Financial scam worth crores of Rs. In ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’

published on January 12, 2015

Establish CBI inquiry into the scam and hang the corrupt !
Shri Mahalakshmi temple anti-corruption committee on warpath against corruption

    Kolhapur – Shri Mahalakshmi temple, one of the three and a half Shakti-peeths; Shri Jyotiba temple, the seat of faith for crores of devotees and 3067 temples in 3 districts of Kolhapur, Sangli and Sindhudurg are under the control of ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’. Today, the Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad has exposed with proofs heavy financial scams in the management and working of temples by the ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’. The information sought under Right to Information Act by Mr. Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, Chairman of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad and practicing advocate in the Bombay High Court has been made public. The scams and corruption in the temples are very serious. In order to raise the demand for immediate dismissal of the  ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’ and taking stringent action against the corrupt, State-wide agitation will be launched soon. In the press conference held today, Mr. Sunil Ghanavat, Organiser of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has appealed, on behalf of all Hindu organisations, to all organisations of similar ideology and devotees of Goddess to participate in the agitation.

* Scams in ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’

    No audit in respect of accounts for the past 35 years, that is, from the year 1969 to 2004 was carried out. After the year 2004, a simultaneous audit was carried out. On the similar lines, simultaneous audit was carried out for years 2005 to 2007. From the year 2008, complete audit has not been taken up till today. There is no record or register with the Devasthan Samiti mentioning, no. of ornaments, their market value, etc. in respect of each temple except those of Shri Mahalakshmi and Kedar Ling. Such register was available before the establishment of the Devasthan Samiti; however, no detailed record is available with the Devasthan Samiti as to how much is the addition in the ornaments, how they are disposed off, etc. This goes to show that the Devasthan Samiti has purposefully neglected this aspect. Many a times, devotees also deposit ornaments along with cash in the donation boxes placed in the temples. It is a binding on  the Devasthan Samiti to take such ornaments on record. Even the auditors and District Collector took a serious view of this issue in their inspection note. The Devasthan Samiti threw the audit objection in the dustbin without taking any cognisance of the same.

* Mismanagement also in the lands belonging to the temples

    Even though, the ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’ owned 23,000 to 25,000 acres of land according to the records as on 2009-10, the area became 6777 Hectare 10 R (Meaning nearly 16,961 acres) in the year 2013. What happened to the land ad-measuring 7,000 acres ? Most of the land bears buildings, trees. This land has been given on rent: however, there is no record of rent received from the above property.

* Some more serious flaws

    Mining activities are carried out on some of the land belonging to ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’, but royalty is not received by the temples. As per the estimates arrived by the auditors, the amount of royalty due just for the year 2007 comes to about Rs. 2 to 3 crores. Temples do not receive the royalty although the mining activities are going on from the year 1885. The Government is not aware as to who has given permission to these mining activities. Perhaps,  these mining activities have been going on without any permission from the government. The possibility of this scam running into crores of rupees cannot be ruled out. Many agents of political parties and leaders were accommodated in the ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’. As a result, the corruption in the Devasthan Samiti went on increasing. Despite the knowledge of the corrupt practices going on in the Devasthan Samiti, the Congress Front government deceived the people by protecting the corrupt. In order to ensure that such scams are not repeated, separate Acts should be legislated, and management of the temples should be handed over to the devotees. It is rightly expected that the BJP-Shiv Sena Government would take above steps so that the temples would become centres of inspiration of Hindu Dharma in a true sense. In this matter, we will be soon meeting Mr. Anna Hazare, the beginner of the anti-corruption movement and would request him to participate in the agitation.

* Our main demands are…..

1. CBI inquiry should be instituted in the scams worth crores of rupees, in the ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’.

2. Immediately dismiss the ‘Pashchim Maharashtra Devasthan Samiti’ and impose stringent punishment on the corrupt.

* Public appeal

1. As a part of the agitation, an earnest appeal will be made to Shri Mahalakshmi Devi in her temple on 15th January 2015. On the occasion, all devout Hindus, devotees and curious are requested to remain present.

2. A huge march will be organised on 2nd February 2015. Hindus should participate in the march and agitation by presuming that the day,  2nd February 2015 is devoted to the Goddess.

3. If anyone has the information either on the corrupt practices or any mismanagement in Devasthan Samiti, the same should be intimated to Mr. Madhukar Nazare on his mobile no. 9766393920.

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