The "duplicate keys" of Puri Jagannath temple's treasury have been found, prompting Puri collector Aravind Agarwal to say the recovery was a "miracle" of the Lord. Opposition political parties, however, sought to know as to what happened to the original keys.
The Puri district administration, which came to know on April 4 that the keys of the temple treasury's inner chambers were missing, stumbled upon a brown sealed envelope containing the duplicate keys on Thursday.
Four personnel, who were looking for the keys, found the brown envelope with "duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar" written on it, Mr Agarwal told reporters. "The envelope was found in the locker of the district record room after five days of search, though the temple records said the keys had been kept in district treasury," he said.
"It is a miracle. All of us engaged in the search felt the presence of the Lord yesterday. Having failed to get the keys despite frantic search, I had completely surrendered before the Lord seeking his blessings," the 2007-batch Indian Administrative Service officer said.
The opposition BJP has stepped up attack on the Biju Janata Dal or BJD government holding Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, an officer in the chief minister's office, the Puri district collector and newly appointed Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) chief administrator PK Mohapatra responsible for the missing key episode.
"All these people have been misleading the public. One day the collector says keys are missing and now he says that duplicate keys are found. Where is the original key? How did the key get into the record room?" Odisha BJP spokesman Pitambar Acharya told reporters in Puri.
Senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra also demanded action against the Puri collector, saying, "Nobody knows duplicate keys of Ratna Bhandar ever existed."
Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik alleged the state government was not serious about looking after the affairs of the 12th-century shrine.
On these allegations, the IAS officer said, "I thank Lord Jagannath for the recovery of the keys. I am working with all dedication and I am also open to any inquiry." He said the district administration will hand over the keys to the SJTA and place details about the matter before the judicial commission, set up by the chief minister on June 4.
Headed by retired Orissa High Court judge Justice Raghubir Dash, the commission will look into the sequence of events before the keys of the inner chamber of Ratna Bhandar went missing.
With inputs from PTI
Get the latest election news, live updates and election schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on ndtv.com/elections. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for updates from each of the 543 parliamentary seats for the 2019 Indian general elections. Election results will be out on May 23.