A pot of treasure unearthed at Hardauta village in Chhatarpur district vanished into thin air hours after they were dug out. Local police and villagers are now at loggerheads with each accusing the other of 'stealing' the treasure.
A pot full of silver and gold coins was reportedly found during road levelling and digging work in the village under the Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Yojana (PMRY) scheme on Friday at Hardauta village under Badamalehra police station.
According to the Sedhpa police, as not many people were present at the worksite, tractor driver Jitendra Lodhi tried to stow away the treasure, which dates back to the Mughal era.
They alleged that a few other locals also shared the spoils before the police and the Archaeological Survey of India official Pavan Raj could reach the spot.
Villagers, on the other hand, have maintained that the police had taken Lodhi to the police station and seized the treasure from him before releasing him.
Talking to reporters, Badamalehra sub-divisional officer of police (SDOP), Deepali Jain, said only two silver coins could be recovered from the site during fresh digging on Saturday and Sunday.
She said that according to sources the coins belong to the Mughal era as the area, during the Gond dynasty rule, had emerged as a major trade centre.
The SDOP on Saturday evening had reached Hardauta village and recovered an ancient silver coin on the spot. On Sunday, the SDOP along with sub divisional magistrate KL Salvi and MLA Rekha Yadav reached the village and initiated fresh digging.
“One silver coin was recovered during the fresh digging at the site,” Jain said.
“We are informing the Archaeological Department about the recovery so that they may investigate on the issue,” the SDOP said. She added tractor driver Jitendra Lodhi was at large and the police had launched a hunt for him.
“The police suspect that Lodhi has fled with precious ancient coins,” she told reporters.
The SDOP said that while the villagers had claimed that the coins had been hidden by the police, they were not able to identify any policeman. She said police inquiry on the issue was on.
'300-400 coins were unearthed'
A villager, on conditions of anonymity, told Hindustan Times that an earthen pot of treasure, containing 300-400 coins, was unearthed near his house.
He said tractor driver Jitendra Lodhi had got the maximum share, while some villagers too took a part of the treasure. He, however, said the police took them to police station and took the coins from them and also warned them not to identify any cop.