KOCHI: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB), which overlooked the age-old custom at Sabarimala temple and favoured the entry of women of all ages, has now comfortably evoked Lord Ayyappa for justifying its decision to divert money from the provident fund of temple employees and purchase bonds worth Rs 150 crore from the crisis-hit Dhanlaxmi Bank.
The TDB submitted before the High Court it was Lord Ayyappa’s will that guided the Board to divert the Devaswom Employees Provident Fund and Temple Employees Provident Fund.
“Nobody in the universe is aware what’s in store for him/her in future. The TDB is no exception,” said TDB Secretary. “The unprecedented flood and Supreme Court verdict on entry of women to Sabarimala had adversely affected the TDB’s finances. The administration is running from pillar to post for survival. In such a situation, it’s believed Lord Ayyappa had foreseen such calamities and paved the way for some kind of compensation by way of Dhanlaxmi Bank bonds,” Board secretary told the High Court.
The Board filed the statement in response to a report filed by the Kerala Audit Department which said the former should have taken ample time and expert opinion before deciding to divert fund. The TDB denied the allegation and said careful and detailed evaluation of the market study regarding the risks involved were done immediately after the decision of the board of directors.
It said the question of obtaining the Audit Department view on the matter also came up during discussion.
This was not done due to lack of time. It was believed the purchase of bonds was a move in the right direction and in the best interests of the Board. The audit report had stated the bonds were rated as BB+ (BB stands for an instrument with moderate risk) by agencies.