As many as 12 diamonds, worth crores of rupees, which went missing from the famed Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, have been recovered from the shrine premises itself by a special investigation team.
The precious stones form part of the ornaments adorning the idol of Lord Sree Padmanabha, the principal deity who is in a reclining position at the centuries-old temple.
As per the primary assessment, it was not a case of theft and also assumed that the stones had accidentally fallen off from the ornaments while dealing with, the investigator added.
According to a senior Crime Branch officer, the recovered gems were part of 26 diamonds, reported missing from the temple years ago.
"Besides these diamonds, the investigation team stumbled upon some other valuables also during the inspection as part of the probe," the officer told PTI.
The recovered diamonds are worth crores of rupees but their exact value was yet to be calculated, the officer said, adding probe was on and the rest of the missing gems could also be recovered soon.
The sprawling temple, dedicated to Lord Padmanabha, has hogged media attention after its four underground cellars revealed gold ornaments, vessels, jewels and precious stones worth hundreds of crore rupees during an inspection.
An architectural splendour in granite, the temple was rebuilt in its present form in the 18th century by the Travancore Royal House which had ruled southern Kerala and some adjoining parts of Tamil Nadu before integration of the princely state of the Indian Union in 1947.
Even after Independence, the temple continued to be governed by a trust controlled by the erstwhile royal family for whom Lord Padmanabha (Vishnu) is their family deity.
A debate is also going on whether to open the shrine's vault 'B', the contents of which have remained shrouded in secrecy.
The Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case, Gopal Subramanium, had recently met the royal family and other officials to elicit their opinion on the matter.