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Indian Priest in Singapore charged for pawning jewellery worth 2 Million dollars from Temple

Tanvi Sinha

An Indian priest in Singapore allegedly committed criminal breach of trust by pawning ceremonial jewellery worth more than 2 million Singaporean dollars from the country’s oldest Hindu Temple. 

The priest was brought before a district court in Singapore, with District judge Terence Tay hearing the case and it is said that the crimes were committed between 2016 and 2020.

Kandasamy Senapthi, 37 received 5 charges of criminal breach of trust along with five counts under the Corruption, Drug Trafficking and other serious crimes (Confiscation of Benefits) Acts, post robbing from the Sri Mariamman Temple. 

The lawyer for Kandasamy, Defence lawyer Mohan Das Naidu, stated that the ex-chief of the temple had himself owned up to the matter even before the police could come see him. He told the judge that he had done so because he could not get enough funds to redeem the jewellery due to the pandemic in time for temple ceremonies to take place.

The temple stated that the gold ornaments were often used for prayers and were kept in custody of the chief, however when in the last audit they were found missing the chief was questioned and subsequently returned the items.

A complaint was soon filed notwithstanding that the temple did not suffer any losses. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Janice See stated that the pawn value of the jewelries was more than two million and that Kandasamy was also accused of removing from Singapore benefits of his alleged ill gotten gains totalling 140000 Singapore dollars. 

He is alleged to have dispatched the money to India through State Bank of India and the Indian overseas bank.

Kandasamy’s lawyer asked for a lower bail amount on grounds of the accused being a foreign national who was unable to raise the 100,000 dollars of money but would be able to raise 80,000 by speaking to some people.

The prosecutor objected to this calling into picture the flight risk that Kandasamy poses as he does not have family or community in Singapore and highlighted the seriousness of the crime which could mean a 10 year sentence and a 200,000 Singaporean dollar fine or both.

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