Bhubaneswar: The state government Wednesday appointed retired Orissa High Court judge Raghubir Dash as the chairman of the inquiry commission constituted to probe the case of missing keys of the Jagannath temple treasury.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approved Justice Dash’s name for the post and the commission will submit its report in August after the annual Ratha Yatra festival July 14. The Odisha government had June 4 announced setting up of a judicial commission to inquire into the circumstances under which the keys of the Ratna Bhandar disappeared.
The state government’s announcement was made in the face of a state-wide outcry over the missing keys of the Bhandar. Opposition political parties had demanded a clarification on it from Patnaik.
The judicial commission during its inquiry will focus on the circumstances under which the Ratna Bhandar’s keys went missing and why it was not found, an official said. The term of reference for the commission will be published soon, the official said.
The Shri Jagannath Temple Rules, 1960, state that the audit of the ornaments inside the Ratna Bhandar should be conducted every six months. The rules also mention who is the custodian of the ornaments, how the audit should be conducted and who will be in charge of the keys.
However, according to the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), it has not been opened since 1985, BJP spokesman Pitambar Acharya claimed. The terms of reference (ToR) for the judicial panel have not been issued yet.
As per the practice of the 12th Century shrine as well as the rule book, the ornaments that are not being used are kept in the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar. The chamber has two locks that are sealed.
The locks can be opened only with the special permission of the state government. The keys of the locks are to be submitted by the temple administration at the government treasury, as per practice and rules. The chamber containing the ornaments used during festivals will also be secured with two locks. One of the keys would be with the SJTA chief administrator and the other with Pattajoshi Mohapatra, the person appointed to deal with the temple’s affairs, according to the practice.
The keys of the chamber containing the ornaments adorned by the Trinity during daily rituals should be with the Bhandar Mekap, the caretaker of the deities’ ornaments and clothes.
PIL filed in HC
Cuttack: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a CBI probe into missing Ratna Bhandar keys was filed in the High Court Wednesday. Advocate Dillip Kumar Mohapatra sought a CBI probe into the episode which, he said, would help unveil the truth. Chief secretary, law secretary, Srimandir chief administrator, Puri Collector and SP, CBI director general and Puri Gajpati, who holds the post of Srimandir managing committee chairman, are parties to the case. Meanwhile, the Jagannath Sena continued its protest at Puri against the government and the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration . The Sena activists staged protests before the temple and sought strong action against Puri Collector and SJTA chief.