Probe sought into missing Srimandir Ratna Bhandar keys

Puri: A day after OTV reported that it has evidence which indicates that the key of the inner chamber of Puri Srimandir’s Ratna Bhandar is missing, concerns were raised today by various quarters seeking a CBI probe into the whole fiasco.

Questions are now being raised on the inspection of the Ratna Bhandar that was carried out on April 4  when one of the keys was missing.

Yesterday, OTV in its report showed the minutes of the temple management committee meeting held soon after the inspection of Ratna Bhandar (the treasure trove of Lord Jagannath) on April 4 that revealed the keys handed over to the inspection team by temple administration for opening the inner chamber didn’t belong to the locks. The matter was highlighted in the meeting by the inspection committee and Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingh Deb who was also present had also expressed his surprise over the same, the minutes revealed.

During discussions on whereabouts of the keys during the meeting, Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal said that he had a detailed inspection of the registers present in treasury but found no records of transactions pertaining to Ratna Bhandar keys since 1970.

Member of the Mukti Mandap Pandit Sabha, Suryanarayan Rath today said “We demand a probe by the CBI into the Ratna Bhandar issue as people have the right to know.”

Expressing his concerns, Garabadu Nijog Secretary, Rajat Kumar Pratihari said “In a dramatic manner a 17-member team went inside the Ratna Bhandar and returned. We had been thinking that the key must be either with the treasury office, representative of the King or the temple office.” He further stated that the Orissa High Court should intervene in the matter so that there is some clarity.

Many opine that authorities should present the details mentioned in the district treasury register. Former treasury staff stated that the details on who has taken the keys and when it was returned must have been recorded in the register. But the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) is mum on the issue.

A former treasury staff, Durga Prasad Mohapatra said the register must be having the details on the key.

Manoranjan Singharee, a former member of the managing committee, said, “In 1978, one box of the Ratna Bhandar was opened. But when it was locked, the then Puri Collector took the key.”

Meanwhile, the whole issue has kicked up a political storm in the State.

Senior Congress leader, Suresh Routray stated “In case the Ratna Bhandar key is lost, the Chief Minister and his functionaries should immediately disclose the details of the treasure inside Ratna Bhandar.”

State BJP vice president, Samir Mohanty said, “The State government’s way of handling the Ratna Bhandar issue hurts the sentiments of the people of the State. We want a clarification from the Chief Minister.”

On the other hand, ruling-BJD general secretary, Sanjay Dasburma stated that the Law department should present its views on the issue.

}