Erstwhile King's son denies treasure rumours

Pradeep Rao, son of the last ruler of Wanaparthi Samsthan, says that stories of buried treasure at Vidyaranya are false.

Published: 25th February 2012 03:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:02 PM   |  A+A-

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After a week of treasure hunt, explorers at Vidyaranya school have taken a break for a few days | A Suresh Kumar

HYDERABAD: As the archaeology department is digging up Vidyaranya School premises for an elusive treasure, Pradeep Rao, son of the last ruler of Wanaparthi Samsthan, believes the whole process does not make any sense.

“My father, the late Raja Rameshwara Rao III, never even whispered in my ear about any such treasure vault,” he told Express.

Putting down reports about the family being upset about the exploration, Rao said, “We are responsible citizens. We will never oppose anything of public interest. My father has done so much for education in the region. All our old palaces are schools and colleges now. So, what we are upset about if an exploration takes place on our premises?”

However, Pradeep Rao, who is also the head of Orient Blackswan Publications Ltd, said: “The department has come out as amateurish by using earth movers and digging from the bottom of the hill. Though they have promised to refill the pits, it takes many years to stabilise the foothill.”

Rao has lot more reasons not to believe in the presence of any treasure underneath the school premises.

How did the department of archaeology found credibility in the petitioners who have trespassed into the school site a few years ago under pretence, without the permission of the school, he wonders.

Rao says there has been no construction on the site, apart from the protection walls built over a decade ago for preventing soil erosion from the hill. About the theory of a possible network of tunnels from ANGRAU College of Home Science and the Mint compound to Naubat Pahad, he asks, “If at all there are tunnels, how come they were not found when multistoreyed buildings around the school dug 30-40 feet for foundation?”

Rao said the family bought the property from a Parsi family in the 1930s.“The presence of any treasure vault on the premises is unbelievable as Parsis are known to be businessmen who do not hoard wealth under earth,” he says.

TUNNEL CONFIRMED The treasure hunt at Vidyaranya School at Saifabad continued on Friday too.

Speaking to the media, Prof P Chenna Reddy, director of state archaeology department, said the data collected from the site by National Mineral Development Corporation’s (NMDC) expert team would be analysed over the weekend.

“Collection of data in the first stage using magnetometer and resistivity survey is over and results are expected by Tuesday,” he said.

Earlier, there were unofficial remarks from NMDC officials about certainty of the presence of a stone structure beneath the surface at the site. However, VS Rao, a mining expert who has been associated with NMDC, Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) and Mining, Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India, confirmed on Friday the presence of a tunnel beneath the site that needs to be explored.

Archaeology officials, during the media briefing, displayed satellite maps and images of the site.

Meanwhile, over 60 students from the school will take ICSE 10th standard examinations from February 27. Archaeology officials have assured to work out a plan for exploration during exam days.

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