Thousands of soiled currency notes have been found in the donation boxes of Ranchi’s Pahadi temple, a famous religious destination of Jharkhand. The boxes, which were sealed by the then Ranchi sub-divisional officer (SDO) Anjali Yadav on July 30 following complaints of irregularities, were opened in presence of five magistrates on Tuesday after two months.
Of the 23 boxes, counting of notes in four boxes was completed by the evening. Executive magistrate Anne Renku Kujur has been deputed for the counting operation by the administration.
“Only the fresh notes were counted so far. Counting of soiled notes did not take place today,” Kujur said.
Ranchi Pahadi Mandir Vikash Samiti (RPMVS) office bearers estimated that currency notes worth around Rs 50,000 have become soiled due to rainy season and late opening of the boxes.
Deputy treasure Nitesh Lohiya said, “Soiled notes have not been counted but we are estimating a loss of Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000. We need an expert for counting of these notes.”
Nitesh raised objection over design of the donation boxes. “Donation boxes should be like letter box. Current model of boxes cannot check water if it falls accidentally on it.”
The Pahadi temple is located on the 250-foot-high Pahadi Hill in the heart of Ranchi and was earlier known as Phansi Tongri, a place where freedom fighters were hung by the British. In 1992, Ranchi Pahadi Mandir Vikas Samiti (RPMVS) was formed by the district administration for better management of the temple.
Earlier, RPMVS used to count donations and deposit them in banks. RPMVS member Hari Jalan said, “At the beginning of the holy month of Shravan this July, the then Ranchi SDO sealed all the boxes of the temple without specifying any reason. Since it was rainy season, water entered in some of the boxes and notes were damaged.”
He said they had requested the district administration to open the boxes as notes would be soiled but the boxes were not opened, and the SDO,too, was transferred.
The annual income of the temple, which comes from donations, is between Rs 35-40 lakh. The boxes in the temple are opened every month.
Ranchi deputy commissioner (DC) Rai Mahimapat Ray said, “The boxes were sealed following complaints of irregularities. Earlier, we never found that boxes were filled. After we sealed them, the boxes might have received donations.”
Ray said some soiled notes were found but they would be exchanged with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Meanwhile, temple priests vented their ire against the administration for not getting remunerations for past the two months. RPMVS officials said since new SDO is yet to take charge, remunerations of temple staff are pending from August.
First Published: Sep 26, 2018 15:15 IST