Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: A team of BJD MPs led by Prasanna Acharya today met Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to discuss about the funds belonging to Puri Srimandir deposited in crisis-hit Yes Bank.

During the meeting, the BJD MPs discussed the issue and urged Sitharaman to take steps to resolve it. In response, the Union Minister assured that Srimandir funds are safe, informed Acharya.

"We met the Union Minister today to discuss about the Srimandir trust funds deposited in Yes Bank. We urged her to take steps so that the funds can be withdrawn without any hassles. She has assured that funds will be released," said Acharya.

Earlier today, a petition was filed by rights activist Pradipta Nayak in the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) seeking a probe into the matter. Terming the financial transaction as ‘unfair handling of Puri Jagannath Temple’s money’ the petitioner questioned the circumstances under which the money was deposited illegally in a private bank.

In the petition, Nayak alleged that the concerned stakeholders have taken huge kickbacks for keeping the deposit in the cash-starved Yes Bank.

A sum of Rs 592 crore belonging to Lord Jagannath was deposited in Yes Bank’s Puri branch between March 19 and 30 last year. While Rs 545 crore was kept as fixed deposit, the remaining Rs 47 crore was kept in a flexi account; however, it was withdrawn after some members raised questions during the temple managing committee meeting on December 20, 2019.