Saturday, February 26, 2011

80cr silver treasure found at Puri Mutt

Puri: Hundreds and thousands of people would have passed a dilapidated Mutt on their way to Puri’s Jagannath temple, not sparing a glance at the 200-year-old structure that on Saturday turned out to be a Rs 85 crore treasure trove.
Cops, probing a burglary, went into the Mutt only to find slabs of silver weighing more than 17 tonnes worth nearly Rs 85 crore at current high prices. There were 522 pieces of rectangular silver slabs, each weighing between 35kg and 40kg. These had been stashed in four wooden treasuries in a sealed room.
Emar Mutt is situated right in front of the Jagannath temple. Non-Hindus, who are not allowed to enter the Jagannath temple, use the Mutt’s rooftop to view the shrine but little else happens there. “We came to know about the silver here after the arrest of Barun Baral, who was trying to sell a silver slab in Dhenkanal on Friday. During interrogation he told us that he had stolen it from Emar Mutt,” said Puri SP Sanjay Kumar.
The SP said Baral worked as a labourer in the Mutt that is spread over four acres. “During renovation work, he stumbled upon the treasury. He might have stolen some pieces with the help of others,” Kumar said. When a stone fell off during renovation, the labourers caught a glimpse of the silver.

 Silver slabs recovered from the Mutt in Puri 

“Baral’s revelation led to the stunning recovery of stacks of silver slabs from the room that was sealed by walls. We broke the walls to enter the room,” Kumar added. The silver was recovered in the presence of Mutt authorities and officials of the state endowment department which controls religious institutions in the state.
There is no authoritative word on how the silver slabs landed in the Mutt. “The treasuries as well as the inventories seem to be a century-old. We are questioning Mutt authorities,” Kumar said. Mutt’s seer (Mahant) Rajgopal Ramanuj said he didn’t know about the silver or the sealed room in the Mutt although he has been staying there since 1987.

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