A branch of the Mahabodi tree under which the Buddha attained enlightment was cut 30 years ago and not recently as was reported in the media, the Bodh Gaya temple authorities said on Thursday.
Bodh Gaya Temple management committee's secretary Kalicharan Singh Yadav said the branch was cut on the recommendation of agriculture scientists 30 years ago. Subsequently, the tree was chemically washed, he said.
Gaya District Magistrate Jitendra Shrivastava and Superintendent of Police Amit Jain, who rushed to the temple after a report was aired by a television channel, made an assessment and held talks with the temple management committee.
Shrivastava told reporters that the report about the cutting of a branch of the tree was "baseless". But since the matter involved religious sensibilities and could have international repercussions, a team of agriculture scientists would also make a probe, he said.
He also showed reporters a photograph of the tree taken in 2004 without the branch.
The television report attracted the attention of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who asked Home Secretary Afzal Amanullah and police chief A R Sinha to visit Gaya, but due to inclement weather, their helicopter could not take off from Patna, officials said.