Mutt chief, 6 others held over ‘hidden treasure’March 24th, 2011 - 1:16 am ICT by IANS
Bhubaneswar, March 23 (IANS) At least seven people, including the head of a Mutt (monastery), were arrested in Orissa Wednesday for keeping police in the dark about the presence of “hidden treasure” and making money by stealing a part of it.
Two others were earlier arrested in the case, an official said.
Police arrested Mahant Ramanuja Das (55), the head of the ancient Emar Mutt in Puri, some 56 kms from here, and six others after they confessed their crime, Superintendent of Police Sanjay Kumar told IANS.
The police have recovered 3.40 quintal of silver worth about Rs.8 crore and cash of Rs.5 lakh from them.
Besides three vehicles, including a car, have also been seized, he said.
The police had stumbled upon three wooden boxes containing 522 silver bricks, worth at least Rs.75 crore, Feb 26 in the Emar Mutt while conducting a search in a theft case and had arrested two persons.
The bricks, each weighing 40-50 kg, were sealed inside three wooden boxes in a dilapidated room of the Mutt near the Jagannath temple.
Police had also recovered an empty wooden box later during further search. This led to the suspicion about the presence of more silver bricks and police intensified probe with an impression that those might have been stolen.
The police have been keeping a watch on the movement of the Mutt chief, his disciples and other suspects.
They found that at least 37 more silver bricks were stolen before police raided the Mutt in February.
“The Mutt head is the kingpin of the crime. He was aware of the presence of the silver bricks. He was selling the bricks with the help of others to different jewellery shops,” Kumar said.
According to the police, the Mutt head had also exchanged some quantity of silver bricks for gold.
The silver bricks were probably smuggled from abroad and were kept in the dilapidated Mutt premise, the official added.
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Tags: bricks, crore, disciples, hidden treasure, jagannath temple, jewellery shops, kingpin, lakh, monastery, orissa, premise, quintal, ramanuja, rs 8, sanjay kumar, superintendent, suspicion, theft case, two persons, wooden boxes