Kerala’s Guruvayur temple re-auctions SUV after previous attempt ends in controversy

The Sree Krishna Temple in Kerala’s Guruvayur on Monday re-auctioned a brand-new Thar SUV, which was offered to the temple by the Mahindra Group, after an earlier auction landed in controversy over the winning bidder’s religion.

In the re-auction, the highest bidder was a devotee named Vignesh Vijayakumar, who offered Rs 43 lakh. In addition, the native of the state’s Malappuram district, would have to pay GST for the vehicle.

In the earlier auction held in December last year, the vehicle fetched only Rs 15.10 lakh when Amal Mohammed Ali, a Bahrain-based NRI, was the lone bidder. As many as 15 persons took part in the re-auction held in Guruvayur on Monday. Vijayakumar, who won the bid, is a businessman in Dubai.

“This is the vehicle offered to Lord Krishna. It is God’s vehicle. We are not bothered about the money. We were ready to offer any amount to win the bid,” said Anoop, who took part in the auction on behalf of Vignesh.

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The previous winning bidder Ali, a native of Kochi, had asked his friend Subhash Panicker to participate in the bid. The reserve price fixed by the temple’s board was Rs 15 lakh. However, the auction landed in a controversy after a section of the board members raised strong reservations over handing over the vehicle, offered to the deity, to a non-Hindu. Ali had insisted on the release of the vehicle as he had won the auction.

Meanwhile, a devotee moved the Kerala High Court over the matter, following which the court directed the temple authorities to hear all parties concerned. Subsequently, the temple board decided to go for a re-auction of the vehicle. The Mahindra Group had offered the SUV to the temple in November last year.

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