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Conspiracy theories abound

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  18 April 2016 12:00 AM GMT

TEMPLE TREASURE RIDDLE

Our Bureau

Guwahati/ Mirza, April 17: As mystery continued over the alleged disappearance of a huge stash of ULFA’s cash, gold and weapons hidden at the premises of a Kali temple inside Rani tea estate in Kamrup district in June, 2014, several conspiracy theories have surfaced as to what might have happened.

From the theories, it appears that a detailed cover-up was done – at whose behest, nobody knows.

Sources told this newspaper that after the tea estate’s owner Mridul Kumar Bhattacharjee was murdered by workers at his other estate in Tinsukia on December 26, 2012, his persol diary fell in the hands of some police officials and SULFA men. Bhattacharjee had reportedly penned in his diary details of ULFA’s cash, gold and weapons that was in his possession.

On June 3, 2014, peasant activist Dinesh Das lodged an FIR at Rani police outpost after workers at Rani tea estate informed him about the gaping hole they found near the garden’s temple. While investigating the case, police visited the site and reportedly made a minor boy enter the cellar.

The boy, Birbal Orang, today told The Sentinel that the cellar was empty. “But the interior was made of concrete,” he said.

It is also learnt that the Kali idol’s eyes and tongue were made of gold and were taken away by the group which allegedly looted the treasure. Later, the missing parts of the idol were replaced.

Rani tea estate was closed since March 22, 2010, after its proprietor Mridul Kumar Bhattacharjee shot dead a class VIII student Pradip Murari and injured six others, while trying to disperse a crowd that had gathered near his bungalow to protest against his alleged assault on a woman a day before.

Sources said that Mridul Bhattacharjee had assaulted the woman near the Kali temple, apparently annoyed at finding her moving thereabout.

Mridul Bhattacharjee, who had reportedly collected money from proprietors of tea estates to turn over to ULFA as protection money, was targeted by ULFA in the early 1990s in Tinsukia. His wife sustained bullet injuries in that attack. He built the Kali Temple in 1995.

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, the booty comprised of Rs 300 crore, 300 kg gold and two AK-47 rifles.

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