PURI: AMIDST raging controversy over the missing keys of Sri Jagannath Temple’s Ratna Bhandar, a set of keys was traced from the District Record Room on Wednesday.Even as the Opposition parties mounted attack on the State Government over the missing keys, a team of Puri administration found a set of keys in a strong box of the District Record Room.Collector Arvind Agarwal informed mediapersons that the keys were found in a sealed envelope carrying a tag of a “duplicate keys of Bhitara Bhandar”.
Sources said the traced key set was found in a red envelope which bore the seal and signature of Temple ADM dated 1985. It is presumed that the key was deposited by the then ADM in the District Record Room instead of being returned to the record room of the District Treasury, which is its rightful place.After news broke out last week that Ratna Bhandar keys had gone missing, the State Government came under attack from the Opposition parties. On the defensive after being charged with gross mismanagement of the Lord’s ornaments, the Government ordered a judicial inquiry into the matter.
Agarwal said the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration had directed on April 2 that Ratna Bhandar keys be produced from the District Treasury for the inspection of stability of the structure as directed by the Orissa High Court.On April 4, the District Treasury Officer informed that the keys were not traceable. The issue was recorded in the proceedings of the temple management committee which became public and led to a huge outrage.
On May 24, the SJTA asked the district administration to search the keys in the Collectorate. Two teams were formed of which one found the key in the District Record Room. On Monday, the Chief Administrator of the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) was also shifted.
Earlier in the day, Jagannath Sena, a local outfit, lodged a complaint with Singhadwar Police Station seeking investigation into discrepancy in gold collected at the ‘hundi’ of the temple. The SJTA had informed that a total of 18.23 kg of gold had been collected since 1983. However, only 14.56 kg was transferred to SBI locker recently which means about 4 kg gold is missing, the outfit added. Meanwhile, the temple administration issued letter to all Nijogs asking servitors to refrain from collecting donations from devotees. All donations must be made in the ‘hundis.’