TWO weeks after a panel appointed by the Supreme Court unearthed a treasure trove worth Rs 1 lakh crore in the vaults of Sri Padmanabhaswamy Temple here, the person instrumental behind the discovery died in the wee hours of July 17, 2011.
TP Sunderrajan, 70, a member of the court-designated committee and the petitioner in the case, died in Thiruvananthapuram. He had been indisposed for past two days. The cremation was held on Sunday evening.
A retired IPS officer of 1964 Bengal cadre, Rajan had moved the Kerala High Court seeking transparency in the administration of the centuries-old temple, now managed by a trust involving the representatives of the royal family of the erstwhile Travancore princely State. Earlier this year, the HC had ordered to takeover the temple administration. Subsequently, Uthradam Thirunal Rama Varma, the head of the royal family, moved a special leave petition in the SC, which culminated in the appointment of a panel to prepare the inventory of the ornaments and artefacts stashed in the six chambers of the temple.
Death of the petitioner came when the opening of the vault B, which is also believed to contain huge treasure, was barred by the SC until a proper system was in place to protect and conserve the thus far unearthed wealth.
A staunch devotee of presiding deity Sri Padmanabha, Sunderrajan had been living in the vicinity of the temple and actively taking part in all riutals. A post-graduate in law, he had worked as a visiting faculty at Law College here apart from practicing in the SC. A bachelor, he had served in the security staff of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He had taken voluntary retirement from the police service to look after his ailing father decades ago.
Sunderrajan’s family had been traditionally the legal consultants of the Travancore royal family. The relations soared later, forcing Sunderrajan to move court for a battle over temple administration.