14 tonnes of silver found in Puri Mutt

Puri, Feb 26 (PTI) Police today recovered 349 pieces ofsilver bricks, weighing about 14 tonnes, stored in 3 woodenboxes at the ancient Emar Mutt in front of the 12th centurySri Jagannath Temple here today.

The white-metal bricks each weighing 38-40 kg were seizedafter being informed by a man who was arrested recently whileselling a few stolen silver bricks, city DSP R K Paikray said.

Two persons identified as Barun Baral and Akshyay Das ofKuttam villager under Dhenkanal sadar police station, who hadallegedly stolen a few bricks, were arrested yesterday whiletrying to sell them in the market, Satish Gajvayee, SP,Dhenkanal said.

Baral and Das were enganged as masons by the OrissaState Archaeology department during repair and renovation ofthe Mutt a few months ago.

While working on the ceiling, a chunk of the cementplaster came off and fell on the wooden boxes below. To theirutter surprise, they found wooden boxes, called "Sinduka" inOriya parlance, filled with silver bricks in the abandonedroom.

On the basis of information given by the duo, the policetoday found the bricks with embossed seals as UAE, Japan,China and Dubai.

Paikray said one more box was yet to be opened aslabourers are facing problem to open it as the room remainedclosed for decades.

Mahant Gadadhar Ramanuja Das (custodian) of the Mutt saidhe was not aware of the bricks being stored there. However, hesaid, his predecessor Mahanta Rajgopal Ramunaja Das had givena hint of "guptadhan" (hidden treasure) being stored in theMutt.

Emar Math is one of the several ancient Mutts in thetemple town governed by the Orissa Religious Hindu EndowmentAct while Sri Jagannath temple is managed by the JagannathTemple Act.

Meanwhile, chief administration of Sri Jagannath templeand Revenue Divisional Commissioner, central range, P KMohapatra said as properties of all Mutts in Puri are theproperties of Sri Jagannath temple, the bricks may be donatedto the temple administration.

The bricks did not find a place in the list of propertiesprepared by the state Endowment Commission.

Deputy Commissioner of state Endowment Commission saidthe actual claimant of the property would be decided bythe court.

Paikray said the police also found that a few woodenboxes were lying empty in an adjacent room and silver bricksstored in the boxes were believed to have been taken away bymiscreants.

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