Not entrusted with the custody of Bhitar Ratna Bhandar keys, says Puri King

Odisha Uncategorized

Bhubaneswar, June 7, 2018: Puri king Gajapati Dibyasingha
Deb expressed anguish for being unnecessarily dragged into the controversy
involving the missing keys of the keys of the Jagannath Temple’s inner treasury
(Bhitar Bhandar).
The treasury of the world-famous shrine has two chambers –
inner and outer. On April 5, Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal revealed that the
district administration did not possess the keys to the inner treasury. The revelation
came a day after a 16-member team of experts desisted from opening the 12th century
shrine’s locked inner treasury to conduct a structural assessment at the
direction of Orissa High Court (HC). The inner treasury was last opened in
The Gajapati, who happens to be the permanent Chairman of
the Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee, Puri said that he was surprised
about the questions raised on the role and responsibility of the Gajapati on
the missing keys of bhitar Ratna Bhandar.
“I am surprised about the questions raised on the role and
responsibility of Gajapati on the keys of inner Ratna Bhandar. After the
implementation of Shree Jagannath Temple Act in 1960, the Odisha Government
became the supreme authority for ensuring safety of Ratna Bhandar and safe
custody of its keys. Key of the Bahar Ratna Bhandar (Outer treasury),” said the
 “As chairman of Shree
Mandir Managing Committee, the Gajapati presides over its meetings and signs
the proceedings. He has nothing to do in temple administration. His role and
responsibilities are the same as other ordinary members,” said the Puri King.
As per the written minutes of a recent meeting of the temple
managing committee held in Puri, the King also expressed shock over the missing
keys, which was later revealed to public domain.
Notably, senior BJD leader and former Minister Damodar Rout
and a senior servitor of Jagannath Temple questioned the silence of Gajapati saying
that he is one among the three persons who possesses the keys of the Ratna
Bhandar, which consists of ornaments worth crores of rupees.
The King said he failed to understand how and why comments
were being made holding him responsible for his silence in the administration
of the 12th century shrine.
The State Government on Wednesday appointed Raghubir Das, a
retired justice of Orissa High Court, as the Chairman of the judicial
commission, constituted on Monday to probe the circumstances leading to
mysterious loss of the keys of Jagannath temple’s inner Ratna Bhandar
The State Government has set three-month deadline for the
commission to complete the inquiry.
The disappearance of the keys, revealed in April, continues
to trigger outrage among opposition political parties and several outfits
across the State.
Earlier, the Puri Shankaracharya, Swami Nischalananda
Saraswati, also expressed shock over the unfortunate incindet and sought a
thorough probe into the circumstances that led to the disappearance of the keys
of the Jagannath Temple’s inner treasury.
As per provisions in the Shree Jagannath Temple Act, the
keys of the Bhitar Ratna Bhandar always remain with Puri district treasury. The
keys to the outer treasury are with three persons, including the Puri King.
However, the keys of the inner treasury are kept with the Puri district
Out of the seven chambers, the temple management uses only
two — the Bahar Bhandar (outer treasury) and the Bhitar Bhandar (inner
treasury). The remaining five are yet to be opened and no one knows the exact
amount of gold and other ornaments stashed away there.

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