Police on Saturday recovered 522 pieces of silver bricks, together weighing about 19 tonnes, after breaking the walls of a room in a mutt (monastery) in Puri.
“The market price of the recovered bricks – each weighing between 35 and 40 kg – will be about Rs 90 crore,” Puri superintendent of police Sanjay Kumar told Hindustan Times.
Emar Mutt, located before the famous Lord Jagannath Temple, about 70 km east of Bhubaneswar, had been under repair for the past two months.
Mahant Gadadhar Ramanuja Das, head of the mutt, said he had no knowledge about the bricks. “However, my predecessor, Mahant Rajgopal Ramanuja Das, had given a hint of some hidden treasure,” he said.
Police got to know of the matter when a man was arrested while selling a silver brick in a district of the state some days ago. The lead given by him led the police to the mutt, one of the temple town’s oldest monasteries.
It then transpired that while digging labourers learnt some treasure was hidden in a sealed room. Some of them then became involved in stealing bits of the treasure.
“On Friday evening, we dug a hole in the sealed wall and found some brick. On Saturday morning the wall was demolished and we recovered all the bricks,” said Kumar.
The bricks are of 300 years’ vintage and have markings of companies of the UK, Canada and China. “We have called for forensic experts who will examine the bricks on Sunday,” Kumar said.