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Odisha: SC asks HC to decide on missing Ratna Bhandar keys of Sri Mandir

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New Delhi/Cuttack: Amidst row over missing Ratna Bhandar keys of Sri Mandir, the Supreme Court of India today directed Orissa High Court to hear the matter.

Hearing a PIL filed over mismanagement and harassment of devotees at the Jagannath temple, the apex court asked the state government to form an experts team to go through the management system adopted by several major temples like Vaishno Devi and Tirupati.

The court directed the government to submit a report in this regard by June 30.

The apex court also asked the Puri district court to set up a committee to probe the mismanagement inside Sri Mandir.

Besides, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) was directed to utilise the funds received as donations from devotees in Hundi for the development of the shrine and the installation of CCTV cameras.

The next hearing will take place on July 5.

Earlier, a PIL had been filed at Orissa High Court seeking CBI probe into missing Ratna Bhandar keys of the Jagannath Temple in Puri making CBI, Centre and State government as parties.

Meanwhile, Odisha government has ordered a judiciary probe into the matter.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has appointed Justice Raghubir Dash, a retired Orissa High Court judge, to inquire into the circumstances leading to non-availability of the keys of Ratna Bhandar of Jagannath temple in Puri.

Yesterday, Puri Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb blamed the Jagannath temple administration for the missing keys of Ratna Bhandar.

In a letter released to a section of media, he expressed surprise on the question being raised on him into the matter. He said that he failed to understand why he was made responsible for the actions and inactions of the temple administration.

He said that the Odisha government took over the management of Srimandir after the implementation of the Sri Jagannath Temple Act in 1960, which empowered the state government as the supreme authority for ensuring the safety of Ratna Bhandar and safe custody of its keys.