The Buddhasasana Ministry has temporarily suspended D. P. Kumarage from the post of Basnayake Nilame of the Ruhunu Kataragama Maha Devalaya.
The Ministry has appointed Dilruwan Rajapakse to act in the post, a Ministry Spokesman said.
However Basnayake Nilame D.P. Kumarage said he had not received any written intimation to the effect that he has been removed from the post.
He said he was legally elected to the post through a formal election process and he has two more years to complete his official term. He said will not relinquish his post until then without any allegations against him.
Kumarage said the Buddhist Affairs Commissioner had suspended the Devalaya’s Bank transactions and he was unable to pay worker salaries during the New Year season.
However he had paid their salaries with personal funds and he planned to institute legal action against the order.
In August, a crisis situation emerged among the Basnayake Nilame and the officiating priests over the alleged robbery of the Devalaya keys. Minister Gamini Jayawickreme appointed a retired Judge to probe this issue.
The official term of a Basnayake Nilame is five years and 17 people cast votes to elect the Basnayake Nilame.