Mrunal Manmay Dash

Puri: The controversy surrounding Srimandir funds being parked with Yes Bank which was gradually subsiding after the Odisha government announced to transfer the deposits to a nationalised bank suddenly erupted out of proportion following a recent press release by the Reserve Bank Of India placing the cash strapped bank under Central Government’s Moratorium.

As per reports, the apex banking authority, in a press release on Thursday announced that Yes Bank has been placed under Centre’s moratorium from 5th March 2020 owing to the potential loan losses and resultant downgrades.

As per the RBI directive, depositors can't withdraw more than Rs 50,000 from their bank accounts for a month starting March 5.

Also Read: Opposition Targets Odisha Govt For Parking Lord Jagannath’s Funds In Private Bank

While the announcement has triggered panic among Yes Bank customers rushing to withdraw cash from bank ATMs, it has stoked fear among the servitors and devotees of Jagannath Temple in Puri who opine that the situation might push the fate of Rs 545 crore funds of Lord Jagannath parked into uncertainty.

Expressing his anger over the development, Senior Daitapati, Binayak Das Mohapatra said, “Keeping such a huge amount in a private bank was a mistake. The person responsible for this should be punished.”

Convenor of Jagannath Sena, Priyadarshan Patnaik too lambasted Odisha government saying that “It’s illegal to deposit Lord Jagannath’s funds in a private bank. Nobody including the managing committee of Srimandir knew about this gross irregularity.”

Reacting on the issue Odisha Law Minister, Pratap Jena said, “The amount parked in Yes Bank is in the form of fixed deposits. It’s been decided in the Temple managing committee that the money will be transferred to a Nationalised bank once the deposits mature later this month.”

“Though I haven’t talked to the bank authorities, I am sure we will be able to transfer the money seamlessly,” added Jena.

Ex-Puri MLA Maheswar Mohanty said, “The then chief administrator of SJTA did a big mistake by depositing the money in the private bank in order to get more interest. Present situation is worrisome, so SJTA should discuss with RBI to withdraw the money.”

BJP National Vice President Baijayant Panda said that the government should have moved Srimandir's fund.

Speaking about the matter, chartered accountant Rajiv Sahu said, "Safety of money should have been given priority instead of rate of interest while parking funds of Lord Jagannath. When it came to light that Yes Bank was in crisis, all the deposits should have been withdrawn immediately."