Silver worth Rs 90 crore found in Puri mutt

Silver worth Rs 90 crore found in Puri mutt

The local police in the temple town of Puri on Saturday recovered 539 pieces of silver bricks worth more than Rs 90 crore from the ancient Emar Mutt near the 12th century Sri Jagannath Temple here.

The ‘hidden treasure’, weighing about 19 tonnes, was stored in three wooden boxes, Puri Deputy Superintendent of Police R K Paikray told Deccan Herald.  The treasure came to light when the Puri police raided the mutt on Saturday following a tip-off from the local police in the coastal district of Dhenkanal.

Three days back, the Dhenkanal police arrested Barun Baral and Akshyay Das of Kuttam village while they were trying to sell a few silver bricks. They were engaged as masons by the Orissa State Archaeology Department during renovation of the mutt a few months ago.  “We seized three silver bricks worth Rs 24 lakh besides and Rs one lakh from them,” Dhenkanal SP S K Gajbhiyee said.  During interrogation, the duo confessed to have stolen the bricks from the Mutt. 

According to them, while working on the ceiling, a chunk of the cement plaster came off and fell on the wooden boxes below. To their surprise, they found  boxes, called “Sinduka” in Oriya, filled with silver bricks in a room closed by concrete walls from all sides.  A few other workers are also believed to have stolen the bricks  with embossed seals as UAE, Japan, China and Dubai. Though the employees of the mutt insisted that they were not aware of “the secrete room”,  the police are not ready to buy the claim.

   “How can it be possible that persons residing inside the mutt for years would not be aware of a room? We are investigating into the matter in detail,” he said.  Emar Math is one of the several ancient mutts governed by the Orissa Religious Hindu Endowment Act while Sri Jagannath temple is managed by the Jagannath Temple Act.

The bricks did not find a place in the list of properties prepared by the state Endowment Commission. Deputy Commissioner of state Endowment Commission said the actual claimant of the property would be decided by the court.

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