Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar/Puri, June 20:
Chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, who has been at the receiving end of a vicious attack from all quarters for the (mis)management of the Nabakalebara rituals, today had an hour-long discussion with Odisha’s Law Minister Arun Sahu.
After his meeting with the Law Minister here, Mohapatra informed reporters that the nine servitors, including the four Badagrahis who have been served with notices, will give their statements beginning tomorrow. Their statements will be recorded and kept secret, he said.
The SJTA chief said apart from those already served notices, open notice will be served and any Daitapati servitor wishing to record his statement on what exactly had happened on the fateful day of Brahma parivartan of the Lords can do so in person in writing one at a time. Their testimonies will be kept secret, he assured.
The statements will be recorded by the chief administrator himself. He categorically said Maharanas (carpenters), Deula Karana, Tadhau Karana, secretary and president of the Daitapati Nijog and senior Daitapatis any other Daitapati can record his statement.
This will be done in phases at a gap of two to three days and start from tomorrow, Mohapatra informed.
The chief administrator said punitive action will be taken against concerned servitors if evidence is found against them as per provisions of section 121 A of the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954. Immediate action will be taken against the erring servitors, which can lead to their suspension.
Responding to reports of mobile phones being used by those inside the temple during the Brahma paribartan ritual, the chief administrator said he had information on one or two Daitapati servitors having taken their mobile phones inside the temple. He, however, said allegations of several Daitapatis taking their mobile phones inside the temple was false.
Mohapatra said that the Brahma Parivartan ritual was only delayed but no irregularities had been committed. “Every ritual has been observed during the Brahma parivartan of the Lords. The only thing was that it was delayed,” he said.
The chief administrator also informed about the steps being taken for the development of Daitapatis, which includes schools for children of Daitapatis and scholarships.
Mohapatra again reiterated that exemplary action will be taken against those responsible for the indiscipline.