Vikash Sharma

Marsaghai Police on Friday busted a criminal gang involved in the theft of ‘Astadhatu idols’ in Kendrapara district. The gang was busted while carrying out a probe regarding theft of electricity materials worth Rs 50 lakhs on January 21.

As per reports, police have arrested six members of the criminal gang and recovered Astadhatu idols worth around Rs 2 to 3 lakhs and electricity wires and other articles worth Rs 50 lakh from their possession. The accused have been identified as Narayan Behera, Jyoti Prakash Behera, Prabhas Sahoo and others. Police have recovered nine Astadhatu idols from their possession.

Kendrapara SDPO, Jayant Mohapatra informed that the gang used to work in teams. “Some of them used to provide escort in car while they used pick up vans to transport stolen articles,” he said.

According to Mohapatra, the criminals are mainly part of an inter-district gang. The involvement of more persons is also being suspected and adequate steps are being taken to nab them, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that theft of Astadhatu idols from temples in different parts of Odisha is on a rise.

In March 2022, miscreants had looted five idols including Dalagovinda, Madanmohan and Kanak Durga idols from Gopinath Dev temple at Biranarasinghpur village in Puri district.

(Reported by Manoj Swain)