Odisha govt forms new committee to supervise Ratna Bhandar inventory | India News

BHUBANESWAR: The Mohan Majhi govt on Thursday constituted a new committee to supervise the inventory of Puri Jagannath Temple’s Ratna Bhandar (treasury), dissolving a 12-member panel that was set up by the previous govt in February this year.
Retired Orissa high court judge Biswanath Rath will head the new committee to supervise the inventory, which was last carried out in 1978.
“The wait and mystery surrounding the Ratna Bhandar for the last 46 years is going to end soon. The govt has formed a new 16-member committee to draw modalities for Ratna Bhandar’s inventory. The committee will hold its first meeting on Saturday,” state law minister Prithiviraj Harichandan said, adding that the audit would start a few days after Rath Yatra, which will be observed on Sunday.
Retired IAS officer Jagdish Mohanty, former DGP Prakash Mishra and renowned sand artist Sudarsan Patnaik are part of the 16-member committee.
The law minister did not cite the reason for the dismissal of the old committee, which was headed by retired judge of the Supreme Court, Arijit Pasayat. Former chief minister Naveen Patnaik had formed the Pasayat-led committee on February 29.
Ironically, formation of the new committee came hours after Pasayat reached Bhubaneswar from Delhi on Thursday to hold a meeting at Puri on Friday on Ratna Bhandar’s proposed inventory. He was to stay in Puri till July 27 to fix the modalities for the inventory.
For decades, mystery has surrounded the Ratna Bhandar and invaluable jewelleries inside it, which was audited from May 13 to July 23, 1978.
On April 4, 2018, the previous government had made an unsuccessful attempt to reopen the Ratna Bhandar for a physical examination of the structure. However, the much talked-about inspection could not be completed as the officials failed to open the treasury owing to the unavailability of the keys of the Ratna Bhandar’s inner chamber.
Amid the statewide outrage over the mysterious disappearance of the keys, Naveen had then constituted a judicial commission headed by retired Justice Raghubir Das to probe into the missing key issue.

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