The police cracked the mystery behind the theft of three silver lion statues attached to the chariot of Goddess Kanaka Durga atop Indrakeeladri, which happened a few months ago. A habitual offender has been arrested from West Godavari district, police sources said.
The thief had sold these to a jeweler who melted them. The disappearance of the three silver lions came to light following an audit ordered by the state government on temple properties and tightening of security following the recent incidents of temple attacks. The three silver lions weighed 16 kg.
Following detection of the theft, an SIT was formed by the police to probe the matter. Workers from other states who laboured at the Durga temple, the temple staff and 40 habitual thieves were questioned but in vain.
The sources said that the West Godavari district police arrested a habitual offender in a property case. During questioning, he gave details of theft of silver lions. Police got in touch with the Vijayawada police and detained the man for questioning.
It turned out that the thief sold the silver lions to a jeweler in Tuni in West Godavari district. He quickly melted it. The jeweler has also been taken into custody.
Meanwhile, the AP Police formed SIT teams to investigate the recent attacks on temples and recommend ways for better protection of shrines.
Addressing a press meet here on Thursday, DIG Pala Raju alleged that some political parties are targeting the police department for no real reason. Police department had set up special teams across districts to investigate the temple attacks cases.
Earlier, DGP Gautam Sawang had revealed details of the attacks on temples during the 2020 – 2021 period and referred to 44 cases. In seven cases, no attack took place. In nine cases, the people involved had political background.
Pala Raju said news written in print media and aired on electronic media are based on facts but not so the jottings in social media. “An incident that took place in 2014 in Eluru was trolled on social media as if it has happened recently. In a few instances, incidents that happened in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were trolled on social media to spread an impression that they happened in Andhra Pradesh.”
Pala Raju said that the police have been investigating as to who are internationally spreading false news on social media platforms. A few people are trying to bring down the morale of the police department, he said.