“SIT should be formed to investigate…,” Congress hits at organized tax evasion over gold plating of Kedarnath Temple

Dehradun (Uttarakhand) [India], June 22 (ANI): In the ongoing controversy over the gold plating of the sanctum sanctorum of Kedarnath Temple, Congress has expressed apprehension of organized tax evasion.

Congress leader and former president of Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple committee Ganesh Godiyal said, “When the colour of the gold had once discoloured in 2005, this time how did the temple committee give a tax exemption certificate to the donor without checking the gold?”
He said that SIT should be formed to investigate such cases.

The Uttarakhand Congress has also raised questions on the role of the temple committee.

The former chairman of the temple committee said that even during his tenure, a businessman had proposed to give 500 kg of gold to the Badrinath temple in lieu of income tax exemption. The businessman told that he had given 50 kg of gold to the temple committee in the year 2005 also, but he had to bear the loss due to the non-availability of a tax exemption certificate by the temple committee.

Congress leader and former chairman of the temple committee Godiyal said that after reaching the Badrinath temple, he found that the gold plate on the outer pillars of the sanctum sanctorum had turned into copper.

He told that in such a situation a condition was placed before the trader to give certified gold from MMTC. On this, the businessman retracted his words. He alleged that in the recent case, the present temple committee even gave the income tax exemption certificate to the businessman in return for donating 23 kg of gold. While in the past the question had been raised on the quality of gold in Badrinath temple.

Earlier on June 19, Shri Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee (BKTC) president Ajendra Ajay said that gold-plating has been done on the jaleri of the sanctum sanctorum of Kedarnath temple and a transparent acrylic layer has also been applied over it so that the gold polish is not damaged.

BKTC refuted claims on social media platforms that the gold plating of the sanctum sanctorum of the Kedarnath temple is brass. It had termed such reports as “conspiracy”.

Ajay had said that the gold plating of the temple’s sanctum sanctorum was done by a donor. The committee said the donor had expressed his desire to gold-encrust the sanctum sanctorum of Kedarnath Temple and respecting the feelings of the donor, the permission was granted after examining the proposal.

BKTC clarified on June 18, that according to the provisions laid down in the Badrinath-Kedarnath Temple Committee Act-1939, donations have been accepted from the donors and permission has been taken from the state government for gold-plating of the sanctum sanctorum of Shri Kedarnath temple.

The gold-plating was done under the supervision of the experts of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

BKTC has also clarified that the work of making the sanctum sanctorum gold-plated has been done by the donor.