The State government has issued a notice to R. Gopal, Director (Archaeology), seeking an explanation for his outburst at a seminar where he alleged that the Archaeology Department was in the grip of a mafia and his life was in danger.

In a press release on Saturday, P.S. Vastrad, Commissioner, Archaeology, Museums and Heritage, said that the rules and procedures for releasing funds for conservation works undertaken by the department under public-private partnership entailed selection of sites and works on priority basis depending on the importance, preparation of a works estimate, and their inclusion in the action plan. Once approved after an elaborate procedure under the law, the works were undertaken as per the conservation practices and principles stipulated in the conservation handbooks and supervised by conservation engineers and assistants. Spot visits were conducted by the technical advisory committee members. Photographs of the site before, during and after completion of the projects were also being taken.

Mr. Vastrad said a similar practice was being adopted for the conservation works funded by the 13th Finance Commission which also entailed an appointment of a third party agency for spot inspections and periodical submission of reports. Funds were being released only on apprising of the quality of works and the same procedures were being followed during the tenure of Mr. Gopal as the Director of Archaeology. Hence he had been asked to explain the reason for his statement, the release added.