Puri: The "duplicate keys" of the Puri Jagannath temple's treasury have been found, with Puri Collector Aravind Agarwal calling the recovery a "miracle" of the Lord. Opposition political parties, however, sought to know as to what happened to the original keys.
The Puri district administration, which came to know on April 4 that the keys of the temple treasury's inner chambers were missing, stumbled upon a brown sealed envelope containing the duplicate keys on Wednesday.
Four personnel, who were looking for the keys, found the brown envelope with "duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar" written on it, Agarwal told reporters.
"The envelope was found in the locker of the district record room after five days of search, though the temple records said the keys had been kept in district treasury," he said.
"It is a miracle. All of us engaged in the search felt the presence of the Lord yesterday (Wednesday). Having failed to get the keys despite a frantic search, I had completely surrendered before the Lord seeking his blessings," the 2007 batch IAS officer said.
Meanwhile, opposition BJP stepped up attack on the BJD government holding Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, an officer in the Chief Minister's Office, the Puri district collector and newly appointed Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator P K Mohapatra responsible for the key episode.
"All these people have been misleading the public. One day the collector says keys are missing and now he says that duplicate keys are found. Where is the original key? How did the key got into the record room?" asked BJP state spokesman Pitambar Acharya at a press meet in Puri.
Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra also demanded action against the Puri collector, saying, "Nobody knows duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar ever existed."
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik alleged that the state government was callous and apathetic towards the affairs of the 12th-century shrine.
Responding to these allegations, Agarwal said, "I thank Lord Jagannath for the recovery of the keys. I am working with all dedication and I am also open to any inquiry."
Agarwal added that the district administration will hand over the keys to the SJTA and place details about the matter before the judicial commission set up to probe the episode.
The chief minister had ordered a judicial probe into the matter on June 4 following a state-wide outcry as the government came under sharp attack from different quarters including opposition parties on the issue.
The state government, which had named retired Orissa High Court judge Raghubir Dash as the head of the judicial panel, has come out with the terms of reference for the commission.
Among other things, the commission has been asked to examine the sequence of events leading to non-availability of keys of the inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar. The judicial commission will also find out the role, conduct and accountability of individuals, groups and authorities for the reported non-availability of the key(s).
The commission may suggest any other matter connected with or incidental thereto to be taken to avoid recurrence of such event in future.
The incident of missing key came 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....