Puri: 522 pieces of silver bricks, weighing over 18 tonnes worth Rs 90 crore were on Saturday recovered from four wooden boxes at the ancient Emar Mutt in front of the 12th century Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri, the police said.
The white-metal bricks each weighing 38-40 kg were seized after being informed by a man who was arrested recently while selling a few stolen silver bricks, city DSP R K Paikray said.
"A total of 522 pieces weighing 18 tonne 87 kg and 650 grams were recovered from the mutt premises. The market value of the recovered silver would be about Rs 90 crore," said Sanjay Kumar, Superintendent of Police, Puri.
The police suspect eight more pieces of silver bricks were missing, the SP said adding four of them were recovered from two persons in Dhenkanal district while the whereabouts of four others were not known.
The recovered wealth was being guarded by armed security forces at the Mutt premises before being shifted to a safe place, police said.
Two persons identified as Barun Baral and Akshyay Das of Kuttam villager under Dhenkanal sadar police station, who had allegedly stolen a few bricks, were arrested on Friday while trying to sell them in the market, Satish Gajvayee, Superintendent of Police, Dhenkanal said.
Baral and Das were engaged as masons by the Orissa State Archaeology department during repair and renovation of the Mutt a few months ago.
While working on the ceiling, a chunk of the cement plaster came off and fell on the wooden boxes below. To their utter surprise, they found wooden boxes, called "Sinduka" in Oriya parlance, filled with silver bricks in the abandoned room.
On the basis of information given by the duo, the police on Saturday found the bricks with embossed seals as UAE, Japan, China and Dubai.
Paikray said one more box was yet to be opened as labourers are facing the problem to open it as the room remained closed for decades.