Orissa HC: BJP Leader Samir Mohanty Withdraws PIL On ‘Missing’ Gold Of Puri Jagannath Temple
Cuttack: Senior BJP leader Samir Mohanty has withdrawn a PIL that he had filed in the Orissa High Court around five years ago seeking a CBI probe into alleged missing gold ornaments of Jagannath temple in Puri.
The former Odisha unit president of BJP had alleged that nearly 3.7 kg of gold ornaments received as gifts and donations for the 12th century shrine had gone missing.
Allowing withdrawal of the PIL, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice B R Sarangi and Justice M S Raman stated that the said memo be kept on record. The Court disposed of the writ petition as withdrawn.
As per the petition filed by Mohanty, 18.62 kg of gold ornaments and 116 kg of silver ornaments received as donations and gift for the temple were kept in the Nazir Khana instead of Ratna Bhandar (temple treasury), TNIE reported.
The petition further claimed that about 14.56 kg of gold was later kept in the SBI locker while there is no record of the remaining 3.7 kg of gold received as a donation.
In response to the PIL, the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) had earlier claimed that the allegation about missing 3.7 kg gold ornaments was “baseless” as they had been “utilised”.
In a rejoinder, the BJP leader questioned as to how the temple administration could utilise the gold ornaments received as donations and gifts when the Jagannath Temple Foundation Committee had no meetings during the past 19 years. The committee with the chief minister as the chairman is the custodian of the ornaments received from devotees as gifts/donations for the Jagannath temple.
Stating that approval for the purported utilisation of the gold ornaments could not have been taken as it had not met in the past 19 years, the rejoinder claimed that it amounted to misappropriation.