Pathanamthitta: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has found itself in a new controversy. The TDB submitted before the high court that it was Lord Ayyappa who “paved the way” to divert the Devaswom employees provident fund and the Sabarimala temple employees provident fund to the crisis-hit Dhanlaxmi Bank.

Earlier, the board had overlooked the age-old custom at Sabarimala temple and favoured the entry of women of all ages. Now the same board has now used Lord Ayyappa's name for supporting its decision to divert money from the provident fund of temple employees and purchase bonds worth Rs 150 crore from the crisis-hit Dhanlaxmi Bank.

The TDB secretary also said that the unexpected August 2018 floods and the September 28 Supreme Court verdict on Sabarimala women's entry had adversely affected the TDB's finances.

He also added that it’s believed Lord Ayyappa had predicted such calamities and paved the way for some compensation by way of Dhanlaxmi Bank bonds.

The board made this statement in response to a report filed by the Kerala Audit Department. The Kerala Audit Department which said the former should have taken ample time and expert opinion before deciding to divert funds.

The TDB denied the allegation and said that a detailed evaluation and the market study were done before the decision was taken by the board.