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Kendrapara: In what has exposed the gaping holes in the temple security system, unidentified burglars broke open the sanctum sanctorum of 300-year-old temple in Pattamundai police station jurisdiction and decamped with antique idols and valuables worth over Rs one crore.

The stolen articles include a 40 KG weighing Astadhatu idol of Lord Krishna besides the brass idols of Lord Hanuman and Goddesses Durga

The stolen ‘Astadhatu’ idol was of immense antiquity value. The stolen idol, the value of which is being assessed at more than Rs one crore, was of antique value. From preliminary investigation, it seems that it is the handiwork of anti-smuggling racket. Scientific teams are on the job to elicit vital clues from the spot of the crime. Sniffer dogs have been pressed into service to nab the idol lifters, said Sub Divisional Police Officer, Uma Shankar Maharana.

The theft took place on Tuesday midnight hours at the Dadhibabanjew temple in Choudkulat village. The 300-year-old medieval temple dates back to the Marathas who reigned in these parts through their subedars.

“The temple priest spotted the temple vandalised early morning. He brought it to the notice of the temple management. The miscreants had broken open two iron grills to perpetrate the crime”, said Sarat Chandra Mishra, a member of temple management trust.

The police have quizzed a section of the temple priests, temple management members besides locals. We are not ruling out `insider' involvement, police said.

It may be recalled some statues of Buddha and other rare images have either been stolen or vandalized from the famous Buddhist monasteries of Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri in recent years.

A dozen of unguarded Hindu temples have been burgled since past one year.

A five feet high 12th century old rare stone image of Mahaveer Jain was stolen by some unidentified persons two years back in Chandipur village. Similarly a rare Buddha idol was also stolen from the 300-year-old Jagulei temple of village Tarangasagarpur. Two rare stone images of deities were stolen from Dakhineswerchandi temple in Tarangapursasan village. A priceless stone statue of meditating Buddha had been stolen four  years back from the excavation site at the famous Buddhist monastery in Udayagiri, according to police sources.

The priceless stone statue of meditating Buddha had been stolen four years back from the excavation site at the famous Buddhist monastery in Udayagiri. The police have failed to crack the idol lifting cases till date.

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