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Missing Ratna Bhandar keys: Justice Raghubir Das appointed commission of inquiry Chairman

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Government today appointed Justice Raghubir Das, retired judge of Orissa High court, as Chairman of the commission of inquiry which will probe into the missing of Ratna Bhandar keys of Sri Mandir in Puri.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on June 4 ordered a judicial probe into the circumstances leading to the non-availability of the keys of Ratna Bhandar.

The probe is to be completed within three months, the Chief Minister’s Office had said in a release.

The CM’s directive came after Law Minister Pratap Jena met him at the State Secretariat to discuss about the issue. The judicial probe will find out the circumstances leading to the missing of the treasury keys and further steps will be taken after the probe is over, said Jena.

Notably, the copies of the proceedings of the temple managing body meeting held on April 4 have revealed that the loss of keys of the inner chambers of the Ratna Bhandar was reported by the Puri Collector who informed the meeting that despite searches, the missing keys could not be found.

As per norms, the keys are handed over to the Collector after locking the temple treasury. The keys are then deposited in the district treasury. However, there was no mention of receipt of keys either in the government treasury or with the Collector.

The non-availability of keys of Ratna Bhandar (treasury) had drawn flak, with Puri Shankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati of Govardhan Peeth having demanded a probe into the case.

Worth mentioning, a 16-member team had on April 4 entered the Ratna Bhandar after 34 years to inspect its physical conditions following an order of the Orissa High Court.

The members of the inspection team did not need to enter the inner chamber as the chambers were visible from outside through an iron grill, an official of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration had said after the inspection.

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