Vikash Sharma

Puri: The ongoing controversy surrounding the selection of holy timber ‘daru’ used for making idols of the deities at Puri Jagannath temple during the 2016 Nabakalebara festival has now got murkier with Premananda Das Mohapatra, the secretary of Daitapati Niyog levelling serious ‘fixing’ allegations on Saturday.

It is not for the first time that allegations regarding ‘daru’ selection have surfaced. Biswakarma Moharana had also brought similar charges earlier.

Premananda Das Mohapatra today questioned how all the three sacred trees were found at a single location (Jagatsinghpur district)? He has also raised questions over why the selection team decided to embark on a journey to search for the maha ‘daru’ during night.

Though there was a tradition to use bullock carts, why the selection team used motorised vehicles mostly cars and with whom such deals were being made, alleged Mohapatra demanding a probe into the issue.

Mohapatra, who has been slapped a notice by Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) over the Brahmha Parivartan fiasco, informed that he will duly reply to the notice at appropriate time and prove his innocence.

When asked regarding the on-going controversy surrounding the alleged irregularities and fixing in ‘daru’ selection, Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb stated that, “There has been a religious degradation and such indiscipline is occurring due to lack of spiritual awakening.”

Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Niti (ritual) Pradeep Das on the other hand refuted the allegations of fixing in ‘daru’ selection.

“I was associated with all the process and there were no irregularities. Bringing out such allegation now is unjustified,”said Das.