Almost a week after the Shree Siddhivinayak Mandir Trust Bhrashtachar Virodhi Kruti Samiti had a press conference and demanded action against the former trustees of the temple for alleged corruption, Pravin Naik, former trustee of the Shree Siddhivinayak Mandir Trust refuted all the allegations made against the former trustees.
It will be recalled that the Samiti members along with the Hindu Janjagruti Samiti claimed that the audit of Shree Siddhiviniyak temple’s trust conducted in 2016 led to some shocking revelations during the period from January 1, 2015, to August 31, 2016. The former trustees of this trust, under the pretext of a study tour for donation of electronic appliances and water conservation scheme (Jalyukt Shivar), reportedly spend a total of Rs. 12, 91,291 including Rs. 8,11,259, plus a travel allowance of Rs. 4,80,040.
Reacting to the allegations, Pravin Naik said, “I am shocked over such an allegation being levelled against me by anyone. In fact, I used my own Fortuner car no. MH 06 BF 4455 for the said tour to Miraj Cancer Hospital. I had never stayed in any Goa hotel nor did I claim any expenses for the same. On the contrary, all the tour expenses were paid by me through my debit cards. My native place is on the border of Goa, at Sawantwadi, where I stayed in my own house. I challenge the activist to produce the bill or any proof against me, if not I want an unconditional apology, because it has not only affected my reputation but also disturbed my family.”
Naik further stated, “Shri Siddhivinayak Temple Trust has no proof that I have claimed the hotel bill and there was no reimbursement of the same. In this connection, the Temple Trust has also given me a letter that I have not been reimbursed. Rs. 2.50 crore was donated by late Anil Agarwal to the Shri Siddhivinayak Temple Trust for development of the Annexe Building, The donation was made possible due to my efforts. In the year 2004, Shree Siddhivinayak Temple Trust entered into an agreement with M/s Avarsekar Builders for development of a five-storey new annex building. However, the work was not executed up to 2007. Being an architect, I personally pursued all the approvals in the year 2007 and 2008 without disturbing the then-architect Sandip Shirke or the Contractor M/s Unity Construction. The project was completed in a record time of three years in 2011. The estimated cost projected for the said project in 2004 was of Rs. 20.66 crores and the actual construction cost was Rs. 18.89 crores. I was able to save 1.76 crores from the project in the year 2011. When I can do so much for the temple, why should I indulge in corruption? In my life, I haven't taken a single rupee for any of my personal work.”