Puri, Jun 14: Amid a statewide outcry over missing keys of the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar of Shree Jagannath Temple, the Puri district administration has found an envelope containing "duplicate keys" of the treasury, an official said today.
The "duplicate keys", kept in a brown sealed envelope, were found inside the locker of the district record room yesterday after five days of search, Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal said.
Four personnel, who were looking for the keys, found the brown envelope with "duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar" written on it, he said. He said the envelope contained a couple of keys and further steps would be taken in accordance with the laid down procedure.
The "duplicate keys" would soon be handed over to the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Agarwal said the temple administration would also be apprised of the development.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had ordered a judicial probe into the mater on June 4 following a state-wide outcry as the government came under sharp attack from different quarters including opposition political parties on the issue.
Subsequently, senior IAS officer P K Jena was removed from the post of chief administrator of the 12th-century shrine. The matter had come to light after a 16-member team entered the outer chamber of the 'Ratna Bhandar' on April 4 and had a scrutiny of its physical condition following an order of the Orissa High Court to examine the condition of the structure.
The inspection team did not enter the inner chamber as it was visible from outside through an iron grill, an official of the SJTA had said after the inspection.
The sudden recovery of the missing keys has prompted political parties as well as temple servitors to raise questions about the original key. Senior temple servitor and joint secretary of Daitapati Nijog Binayak Dasmohapatra sought to know as to why the administration had been giving misleading statements if the keys were in the locker of the district record room. The whole incident has raised suspicion, he said.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik also slammed the state government, asking it to explain its silence about the existence of duplicate keys.
In a Twitter post, Patnaik said "So reportedly, duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar have been found. The rules don't permit duplicate keys. Where were these keys all this while? Why was the Govt silent on the existence of duplicate keys? And there are still the original keys, which the Govt is clueless about!"
BJP Spokesperson Pitambar Acharya also hit out at the district collector and asked why the people were kept in the dark for two months and all of a sudden duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar had been found.