A senior official of the Archaeological Survey of India on Monday slammed the hype surrounding the excavation at the dilapidated fort of Raja Ram Baksh Singh at Unnao in Uttar Pradesh and ruled out the possibility of discovering 1,000 tonnes of gold at the site.

Deputy director P. K. Mishra, under whose supervision the excavation is being conducted, told The Hindu : “I am fed up of hearing this. Who is circulating these rumours? The local media started giving undue importance to priest Shobhan Sarkar, who claimed to have dreamt of 1,000 tonnes of gold buried under the ruins of the fort. The ASI is interested in the archaeological significance of the site. It has certainly not launched a treasure hunt.”

He said the Geological Survey of India (GSI) had pointed out the presence of non-magnetic substances like copper, aluminium and silver, which could be found in “any kind of antiquity”.

He ruled out the possibility of an excavation at Adampur village, situated on the banks of the Ganga, where according to Shobhan Sarkar’s dream some 2,500 tonnes of gold is hidden under ruins.

“All this talk of a saint dreaming that there is khazana under the ruins of a fort is nothing but a big tamasha .”

Corroborating Mr. Mishra’s assertion, ASI Director (Archaeology) Syed Jamal Hasan said the British would not have left the treasure for future generations.

“The British were the biggest dacoits. It is highly unlikely that they would have left a treasure behind.”

To illustrate his point, Dr. Hasan said in Assam the British had “desecrated the burial places of Ahom rulers who ruled from the 12{+t}{+h}Century to 18{+t}{+h}Century in their quest to get a hold of the treasure. They dug up to 10 metres.”

About the ongoing excavation work in Uttar Pradesh, he said the ASI might find “an odd ring, bracelet or even a gold coin, but by no stretch of the imagination is 1,000 tonnes of gold hidden under the ruins of the dilapidated fort”.