The sensational case of ‘stealing ornaments’ from the historical Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy temple at Melkote in the district on Wednesday took a new twist with eight ornaments, which were supposed to have been stolen from the temple a few years ago, being found in one of the hundis of the temple.
The hundis were opened by the temple trustee in the presence of the representatives of Muzrai, Police and Revenue departments. Thousands of rupees in cash and eight ornaments, including a diamond-studded mace, were found in the hundi, sources in the temple said. A ‘shanka’ and a ‘chakra’, suspected to have been stolen from the temple, were also found in the hundi, sources said.
It was alleged that some priests at the temple had stolen at least 33 ornaments, which had been gifted to the temple by devotees, a few years ago.
While several inquires were conducted in this regard, a first-information report (FIR) was lodged against a few persons in connection with case.
A petition was also filed before the temple trust, apprehending involvement of a few priests, including Narasaraja Bhat, who is reportedly absconding for several months, his brother Varadaraja Bhat and seven others. A senior official in the trust confirmed that ornaments were found in the hundi.
However, he said, “The Muzrai Department should declare whether ornaments found in the hundi were among those stolen earlier or new ones.”
When contacted, an official of the Muzrai Department said, “We will verify the documents and photographs of the stolen or missing ornaments to know if the ones found in the hundi were among the stolen ornaments.”
The department, according to the official, will also contact the donors to verify and provide more details about the ornaments found in the hundi.