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Missing Ratna Bhandar keys: Inquiry commission’s tenure extended

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Bhubaneswar: The tenure of Justice Raghubir Das Commission of Inquiry, which was constituted to probe into the missing of Ratna Bhandar keys of Shree Jagannath Temple in Odisha’s Puri, has been extended by a period of three months, official sources said.

The Commission of Inquiry, formed on June 6, was earlier instructed to submit its report within three months.

As per Terms of Reference (ToR) of the commission, it will probe into (i) sequence of events and circumstances leading to the reported non-availability of the keys of the inner chamber of the Ratna Bhandar, (ii) the role, conduct and accountability of individuals/groups/authorities for the reported non-availability of the keys and (iii) any other matter connected with or incidental thereto as the commission may consider appropriate including measures to be taken to avoid recurrence of such event in future.

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.

Notably, the copies of the proceedings of the temple managing body meeting held on April 4 had 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.

However, a team of Puri district administration on June 13 found a set of keys in a strong box of the District Record Room. Collector Arvind Agarwal informed mediapersons that the keys were found in a sealed envelope carrying a tag of ‘duplicate keys of Bhitara Bhandar’.