UAE consultant to help protect temple treasure

Security systems to prevent air or sea robbery attempts being put in place

The Shree Padmanabhi Swami Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, now the richest temple in India (and probably the world), will be protected with high-tech security systems normally reserved for high-security government establishments and, well, Swiss bank vaults.

The systems will shield the $22 billion in treasure discovered so far from possible aerial or sea attacks, according to a leading security consultant from the UAE, who claims he is a consultant with the Kerala police.

Dileep Lal, Chief Executive Officer, Infocare, a Security Consultancy company based in the Sharjah Airport Free Zone (SAIF Zone) said the Kerala police are not ruling out an underground attack from residential or commercial properties located in the temple surroundings as well.

He said the Director General of State Police, Jacob Punnoose had a meeting with Infocare about surveillance cameras and an initial report has been submitted.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court deferred the opening of a final sixth vault at the temple in Kerala state capital Thiruvananthapuram until it could be determined how the treasure could be made safe.

"The temple treasures are the pride of Kerala and we are committed to protecting and preserving them," state chief minister Oommen Chandy told AFP.

Chandy said the state government has earmarked 10 million rupees ($225,000) to upgrade security.

The haul catapulted the shrine, renowned for its intricate sculptures, into the league of India's richest temples which have been endowed by pilgrims and wealthy patrons.

Over 100 police officers are stationed inside the temple which until last week relied on just a dozen security guards.

More than 50 armed commandos are on guard outside temple dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu while metal detectors and security cameras have been installed.

"We have set up a separate control room to monitor every movement in and around the complex," said the Punnoose.

The Supreme Court ordered the inspection of the temple after a petitioner questioned the security for the valuables. The court has been driving efforts to establish ownership of the treasure.

The temple was built hundreds of years ago by the king of Travancore and donations by devotees have been kept in its vaults ever since.

Since India achieved independence from Britain in 1947, a trust managed by descendants of the Travancore royal family has controlled the temple.

On Friday, Kerala's former royal family renounced the temple treasure and said the fortune should be used "judiciously for religious and social purposes" such as building hospitals and schools.

Hindu activists say the temple owns the treasure.

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