Ancient temples located at villages that come under the submergence area of Pulichintala project in Guntur district have become a haven for treasure hunters.
Treasure hunters are thronging these temples with latest gadgets to locate “hidden” treasures. Police are on tenterhooks with the hunters making their presence felt in the district. Police intensified patrolling to keep a tab on them. In order to confirm whether any troves are present in villages at Kethavaram, Kolluru and Gollapeta that are set to submerge once Pulichintala project is completed, the district police roped in senior officials from the Archaeological and Museums department for a detailed inspection of the spot.
The police also wrote a letter to the Endowments Department seeking its intervention and allay fears of people. A few days ago, the Piduguralla police nabbed five persons for allegedly attempting to find out a treasure trove using a long-range detector brought from Bulgaria.
The prime accused -- D. Ramakrishna along with his associates -- D. Venkateswar Naik, B. Somla Naik, Narasimha Naik and K. Ramesh Naik started scouting for the trove from a tribal fort and reached the ancient Lord Shiva temple at Kethavaram village of Bellampally mandal in Guntur. Based on signals received from the detector, the gang members searched for the trove which they anticipated contains gold and silver coins.
Acting on a tip-off, the police rushed to the spot and nabbed the gang members. “It has become a nuisance for us for the last few months. To verify the gang’s claim, we took the help of officials from Archaeological and Museums department and confirmed that there are no traces of treasure troves,” explained Piduguralla Town Circle Inspector Y. Sridhar Reddy.
The hunt for treasure troves began when the main idols in these old temples were shifted to other places after administration declared Kethavaram, Kolluru, Gollapet and other areas as submergence villages, he said. When contacted, Archaeological and Museums Department Assistant Director K. Chittibabu, who visited the spot, confirmed that no traces of treasure troves were found.
“We advised the police to seek the assistance of Mines and Geology Department to know more about the detector used by the gang” he added.