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Rs 3 lakh temple theft

Gold and silver ornaments worth more than Rs 3 lakh were stolen from a temple in Harharguttu, under Bagbera police station of the city on Monday morning.

Police said the theft came to light around 9.30am when the temple priest B. Mishra came to perform the daily worship rituals. He noticed some changes in the idol of the two deities that aroused his suspicion. On closer inspection, he found that the idols had been robbed of their gold and silver jewellery, which included two gem-studded gold crowns and a silver flute.

Mishra immediately raised an alarm and informed members of the temple committee, who got in touch with their president Rameshwar Prasad.

Prasad, who rushed to the spot to have a look at the idols, later filed a complaint of theft against unknown persons at Bagbera police station.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday, Bagbera sub-inspector M.P. Singh confirmed that they had received an FIR and launched investigations into the case.

“There is an underground passage from the sanctum sanctorum to the outside of the temple. The exit point of the passage had been blocked by a rusting iron-grill that had started to crumble. We suspect that the thief might have entered the temple through this passage,” Singh said.

He added that the police could not press a sniffer dog into service, as they did not have any evidence that the thief had left behind.

He also claimed that a group of women, who had made their way to the sanctum sanctorum to wash its floor before the arrival of the priest, also had not noticed or reported the theft.

The incident spread a lot of speculation in the area with many local residents believing the thief to be a regular visitor to the temple.

“The thief could not have done this without knowing the details of the layout of the temple, including its underground passage. He/she must have been a regular visitor,” alleged locality resident Arjun Kumar.