KOCHI: The Income Tax Department on Friday issued summons to the Cochin Devaswom Board seeking details regarding the sale of gold lockets at the Chottanikkara temple. The Department has initiated a preliminary inquiry into the abnormal increase in the sale of gold lockets at the temple, soon after the Central Government withdrew Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes.
According to the probe team, the manager of the temple has been directed to submit all the details pertaining to the gold sale took place at the temple after October 8.
“Documents, including receipts of the lockets sold and the amount deposited in bank, should be produced within one week. Efforts are on to identify the persons who purchased the gold lockets. This is just a preliminary inquiry based on a tip-off we received, and no one has been summoned for interrogation. If the information is authentic, we would conduct a detailed investigation,” said Income Tax officials.
After the currency notes were withdrawn, the sale of gold lockets, weighing around 10 gm and costing Rs 30,000 each, increased substantially. On November 9 and 10 alone, around 90 gold lockets were sold, which fetched around Rs 30 lakh to the Devaswom. It is learnt that the gold was sold by accepting the cancelled currencies.
Usually, so many gold lockets are not sold in such a short period of time. On November 11, the temple authorities deposited the proceeds from the sale in a public sector bank, and the bank officials directed them not to accept the old currency notes any more.