Puri: The State Endowment Commissioner today cancelled the trusteeship of Rajagopal Ramanuj Das, the Chief Mahanta (saint) of Emar Mutt in connection with the seizure of 522 silver bricks from the mutt in 2011.
Taking suo motto cognizance of the case, the Endowment Commissioner of Odisha expelled Das permanently from the trusteeship of the mutt. The Commissioner directed the concerned authorities to carry out the order soon.
The Commissioner had earlier served a notice to the Chief Mahanta for concealing the treasury of the mutt.
According to sources, based on the probe conducted by the commission and statements of seven witnesses, the commissioner took the decision.
The commissioner has also sent the report for State Government’s approval, sources added.
Meanwhile, Das’ counsel alleged that the decision was taken even though there was a lack of proper evidence. He also informed to move that they will move Orissa High Court and Supreme Court in this matter.
Notably, the Endowment Department officials and police recovered 522 silver bricks weighing about 18 tonnes from Emar Mutt, in front of the Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri on February 26, 2011. The value of the seized metal was estimated to be around Rs 90 crore at current rates.
The huge stash of silver was found from four wooden chests from a room inside the mutt which was closed from all sides by brick walls.
Police had said that the matter came to light when two labourers stole some of the metal and were trying to sell it in Dhenkanal district.
One of the labourers confessed to police that he had stolen the silver bricks from the mutt while he was carrying out repair work.
Later, the Endowment officials and police started digging the walls of the ancient mutt and seized the silver bricks.