The Lord Ayyappa Temple Management Committee in Bhopal has announced a cash reward to anyone who gives clues about the stolen 400-kg bronze temple lamp after the police failed to crack the case even after 10 days’ of jaw-dropping theft.
The unique bronze lamp, which was donated by a devotee, cost Rs4 lakh and was mounted on a 100-kg bronze pillar on the temple campus located in the BHEL area of the state capital. But, what surprised everybody was the way the heavy lamp was unbolted from its base and carried away in the wee hours of January 9. Following this the state home minister Babulal Gaur himself visited the temple and assured devotees that the police would do their best to recover the lamp and arrest the thieves.
However, after the police failed to get any clues about the lamp, the temple management on Tuesday announced a cash award to anybody who gave clue about the lamp.
Temple management committee president SA Pillai said that the lamp was donated by one PV Pillai about three years ago. “This is a special lamp which was made by the craftsmen in Kerala. From Kerala it was brought to Bhopal on a truck. We are wondering how it could be stolen. It can’t be stolen without using a small crane or a vehicle. We suspect a vehicle entered the temple premises and the thieves stole it,” he said.
Pillai said that the nine-step bronze pillar and the lamp together weighed around 500 kilogrammes. “The thieves knew how to remove it. They unscrewed it from the base. So it is possible that people who stole it, knew it could be unscrewed,” he said. The temple guard gave inconsistent statements to the police, he said. However, the police were yet to get the clues. Govindpura police station sub-inspector (SI) Prahlad Marskoli said the guard was cooking up stories to divert attention that he was sleeping when the theft took place. “He doesn’t want the temple committee to know that he was sleeping during night when he should have been guarding the temple premises”, he said.
Marskoli said they had received some inputs from their informer that some stolen stuff had reached Anna Nagar in Bhopal. “We conducted searches there but couldn’t find it. We are working on some leads. The lamp has been stolen probably by bringing a vehicle inside the temple premises and then putting the four quintal lamp onto the vehicle. We will try our best to recover it as soon as possible and arrest the thieves”, he said.