Banashankari temple priests suspended for gold theft

Banashankari temple priests suspended for gold theft

Four priests, including the chief priest of the  Banashankari temple, have been suspended after the temple trust found that 6.810 milligram of gold from the crown and feet of the deity had been scraped off.

On June 10, Nagaraja Rao, assistant temple priest, found a few gold ornaments scraped off. On June 15, he brought it to the notice of trust members who carried out an internal probe.
Lakshmi, executive officer of the temple, said: “As the theft was brought to our notice, we weighed the ornaments and found they were less by 6.810 mg. We questioned the 4 priests – Satyanarayana Shastri, chief priest; Nagaraja Rao, assistant priest; Somashekar Sharma and Satish R N, priests. These 4  have the rights to enter the sanctum sanctorum. We questioned them but they say they have no clue .”

“On June 18, we wrote to the Muzrai department, whose officials visited the temple and inspected the premises. On Friday, we received a letter from them ordering the suspension of the four priests and they have asked us to file a police complaint. The four priests have been kept under suspension. Documents are being prepared to register a  complaint,” Lakshmi added.

Sources said there were a lot of unanswered questions like why Rao, who came to know about the missing gold on June 10, informed the temple trust members only on June 15. “Rao also claims he saw a couple of priests doing something inside the sanctum sanctorum secretly. Why didn’t he tell us about their activities... he is not naming the priests are,” said the sources. “The CCTV footage does not give a clear picture, as curtains are drawn. We will register a police complaint,” the sources added.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South), Lokesh Kumar, who also visited the spot, said, “We have not received any complaint about the missing gold. Once a formal complaint is lodged, we will begin the investigations.”

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