Gajapati surprised after being dragged into Ratna Bhandar key missing row

Bhubaneswar: Puri King and Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee Chairman Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb on Thursday said that he was surprised about the questions raised on the role and responsibility of the Gajapati on the missing keys of inner Ratna Bhandar of the Puri Jagannath Temple.

“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 Gajapati.

Notably, senior BJD leader and former Minister Damodar Rout and a senior servitor of Jagannath Temple questioned the silence of Gajapati as he is one among the three persons who have 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.

“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.

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 (treasury).

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.


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