It came as a rude shock for devotees who had come to offer prayers at Sanatan Dharm Mandir at Model Town area of northwest Delhi on Dhanteras. Idols and ornaments worth Rs 30 lakh were reportedly stolen from the famous temple.
The break-in was discovered on Sunday morning. Thieves even managed to run away with a 10-kilogram heavy silver idol of Lord Shiva that had been fixed to the ground with an iron rod.
Police said the thieves entered from a window and broke open all the doors of the temple.
“Three caretakers were sleeping inside the premises when the theft took place. We are questioning them for further leads,” said NS Bundela, DCP (northwest). The temple is famous particularly for its Janmashtami celebrations.
Police said the thieves knew the topography of the temple quite well as a silver kalash that had been kept under a sack was also stolen.
The head priest of the temple, Suresh Gupta, told the police that he detected the theft when he opened the door of the temple around 4.30 a.m. on Sunday.
The jewellery of Goddess Durga, a gold flute of Lord Shiva and two idols of Lord Shiva and Ma Ganga were also stolen, he said.
“We do not rule out involvement of insiders in the crime,” said the DCP.
The theft took place at a stone’s throw away from the Model Town police station. Police have also detained few labourers who are working at the temple.
“I detected the theft when I found the doors of the temple open from inside. When I entered, I found all jewellery and idols missing. The locks and doors had been forced open,” said the head priest.
A case of burglary has been registered at the Model Town police station. No arrests had been made in the case till late on Sunday.