The former chief priest of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple was accused of repeatedly pledging religious gold jewelry for a total of $ 1.5 million, court officials said Wednesday.
Kandasamy Senapathi would redeem the pledged ornaments when he raised enough money and brought them back to the temple, according to local media – but his ploy was exposed when he couldn’t get enough money to buy back the gold after the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
The 37-year-old Indian citizen worked at the Sri Mariamman Temple, a 194-year-old ornately decorated place of worship in downtown Singapore that is popular with devotees and tourists alike.
He is accused of pledging the gold items five times between 2016 and 2020 when he was still high priest.
Temple authorities found the items were missing during an audit, and he was arrested and later stripped of his role as high priest.
Kandasamy later managed to redeem the gold items and return them to the temple.
The total deposit value of items frequently used in prayer was more than SGD 2.0 million (US $ 1.5 million), according to AFP court records.
The ornaments were to be kept in the care of the high priest in the inner sanctuary of the temple.
Kandasamy was also charged with five corruption cases for having returned more than Sg 141,000 in criminal proceeds from his scheme to India.
He has been charged under “criminal breach of trust” laws for mortgaging the items and up to 15 years for each count.
He faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years for each corruption charge.
A sizable Hindu minority resides in Singapore, whose population is mainly ethnic Chinese.
Sri Mariamman was built in 1827 by immigrants from southern India and is dedicated to the goddess Mariamman, who is known for her alleged power in healing epidemics and diseases.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)