TEMPLE TREASURE RIDDLE
Guwahati/ Mirza, April 18: Senior police officials have rubbished claims of the existence of a hidden treasure at Rani Tea Estate, even as the ‘accused’ med by a retired army intelligence officer in a PIL at the Supreme Court expressed shock at their mes being dragged into the issue.
“Some people had approached us saying they had information about some hidden treasure at the place. It is all rubbish,” said a senior police official when his reaction was sought.
He argued that when Operation Bajrang was launched, the ULFA did conceal their money and weapons at places. “Many people, along with police and army, had busted many such caches. But that is history. The amount of treasure as claimed by the ex-army personnel is nothing but a figment of his imagition,” said the official.
According to retired military intelligence officer Manoj Kumar Kaushal, who has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking a probe into the disappearance of the treasure on 31 May, 2014, the booty comprised of Rs 300 crore, 300 kg gold and two AK-47 rifles.
On the other hand, three of the 13 people med by Kaushal in his PIL, today denied having knowledge about any such treasure at the Kali temple.
“I was shocked when I saw my me in the newspapers today. I don’t know anything about the treasure. Yes, I know Dinesh Das of Rani. I used to make banners for his organizations,” said Jitumoni Das, an artist from Azara, who has been med in the PIL as an accused who conspired to smuggle the treasure.
Earlier, Dinesh Das, a local peasant activist of Rani, had claimed to have seen many suspicious activities – including frequent visits of tantriks, police, army and SULFA men – at the premises of the tea estate during May-June, 2014.
Another accused, Binod Kalita of Agchia said he came to know that the temple housed a treasure only through media reports appearing in newspapers over the last few days.
“We are activists fighting for land rights. I am the general secretary of a peasants’ body. I suspect a conspiracy behind dragging our mes into the matter. I suspect Jiten Kalita (a former ULFA member who deals in land now) influenced the army personnel to drag our mes into it,” Kalita said. Jiten Kalita of lbari was the person who first informed the army officer about the alleged treasure in May, 2014.
Another person med in the PIL, Niranjan Kalita of Rangiya, also pleaded ignorance about the hidden treasure. Niranjan is a tailor by profession.
Tantrik Basanta Baruah, who works in the housing board, today admitted that he had visited the Kali temple to “offer pujas” but claimed he was not aware of any such hidden treasure in its premises.