Treasure hunt on near AP secretariat

Excavation is on for the second day on Sunday at a school opposite the Andhra Pradesh state secretariat in a tunnel for hidden treasures valued at Rs 20,000 crore.

The school which is built on the land abutting Naubat Pahad, a hill on which the Birla Temple has been constructed, is abuzz with activity. The school is about 100 years old and city historians say there was a small cave in the hillside. The tunnel is said to be 12 ft by 12 ft and Prof P Channa Reddy, state Treasure Trove Officer, is supervising the heavily guarded excavation work.

According to sources, construction workers while digging a mound found out a tunnel and few steps leading to Iron Gate after the steps which look like a treasure trove. Some schoolchildren, out of curiosity, came to know about the tunnel and ventured into it. It is said that the son of T B Raju, Chief Manager (Personnel) Coal India Limited, who is studying in the Vidyaranya School told his father about the booty that he and his friends saw through a key hole of  the iron door. The news about a hidden treasure started spreading like wildfire.

Meanwhile, the state Archaeology Department received a sworn affidavit from nine prominent citizens led by T B Raju, stating that they had reliable information of a treasure in a hidden tunnel. They said they got the information about two months ago but couldn’t muster enough courage to reveal it to officials concerned fearing the mafia and the unscrupulous treasure hunters.

Based on the affidavit, a team of officials from the Archaeology Department inspected the site on Saturday evening and decided to start excavation on Sunday morning in the presence of a mason, who will serve as a guide.

People around the school are saying that the mason was the first person to have gone inside the tunnel and reportedly saw two almirahs full of jewels and precious stones.

Dr Mohammad Safiullah, a city historian said this could be one of the bunkers built by the rich during world wars. “Many rich families had built bunkers during World War II to escape air strikes by Japan. One such bunker was unearthed near the Home Science College in Saifabad.”

Similar bunkers were also found in the Mint Compound, where the State Bank of Hyderabad headquarters is now located.  “But when these iron safes were recovered from these bunkers all of them were empty,” he added.

The  building in which the school is being operated belongs to the heirs of Wanaparthi Samsthan which, at one point of time, owned more than one lakh acres. And its royal members were very rich. This gives credence to the theory that a royal member had stashed away jewels and precious stones in the Naubat Pahad bunker.

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