Ratna Bhandar Key controversy a political game plan: Dama Rout

Bhubaneswar: The disappearance of original Ratna Bhandar key and sudden emergence of a duplicate key has certainly raised many eyebrows with senior BJD leader Damodar Rout today raising questions as to how a duplicate key can be made if the original one is missing.

“They are saying that the Ratna Bhandar has been opened many a time in these years. I have been in politics since last 45 years but I have never heard of the Bhandar being opened even once. In 1978, when Biswabhusan Harichandan was the law minister, that is when I remember the Bhandar was last opened,” Rout said.

“Now, the question arises if the Bhandar was opened and they had carried an inspection too, Biswabhusan Babu must be having all the information about the key. If they had opened it, they should also be able to answer where the key is now,” Rout said.

Terming the key controversy a political game plan, Rout stated, “If there was a duplicate key, why was none aware and able to locate it. All these things will definitely create doubt in everyone’s mind. Lord Jagannath can only solve this. And this ongoing debate and the blame game over the Ratna Bhandar key will be taken care of by Lord Jagannath only.”

“I don’t understand why the district collector said that he is ready to face any probe on the key. Why would he face any probe? Why is he owning up?” questioned Dama.

Meanwhile, responding to Rout’s statement, senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan said, “Taking care of the key is the administrator’s responsibility and not the minister’s. After getting the interim report then, the government had directed to open the Ratna Bhandar and inspect the ornaments and other valuables kept inside it. But it was never a minister’s lookout to keep a track of the key. The temple administration and the collector take care of this.”

But there is some mystery behind the sudden appearance of a duplicate key, he added.