KHAMMAM: Two gold chains worth `2.5 lakh, donated by a devotee to Goddess Sita of the famous Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam, have gone ‘missing’. The missing chains came to the notice of the head priest of the temple Podicheti Jagannadhacharyulu last Friday. Endowments minister A Indrakaran Reddy expressed serious concern over the missing jewels, not the first time in the recent past, and said stern action will be taken against the accused.

Officials are apprehending some ‘insider role’ behind the missing jewels and have given the priests, who have access to the sanctum sanatorum, till Sunday to see that the jewels are back. If not, the authorities have decided to take the issue up with the police. According to reports, the missing jewellery was noticed by Jagannadhacharyulu on Friday when he was adorning the gold ornaments to the procession deities in the main temple to perform nithya kalayanams. The kalyanams were stopped from August 13 to 18 due to pavithrotsavams.

Temple officials said priests adorn gold ornaments to the processional and also the presiding deities daily. “Everyday priests take out procession deities to perform nithya kalyanams at temple premises and after completing the kalyanam, they are kept inside the main temple. The gold ornaments will be removed and kept in a locker in the main temple,” officials said. Due to pavithrotsavams, the nithya kalyanams have been stopped and the processional deities were not taken out from the main temple. Jagannadhacharyulu found two gold chains missing.

Temple executive officer T Ramesh Babu convened a meeting with all priests at his office on Sunday to take stock of the situation. The priests reportedly claimed that the ‘missing jewels’ might well be mixed with other ornaments and within the temple premises. The EO instructed them to verify all gold ornaments and gave time till Monday evening for them. “If the ornaments are confirmed to be stolen, we will write a report to the endowments commissioner and take the next step in this direction,” he said.

Meanwhile, endowments minister A Indrakaran Reddy told Express over the phone about the two missing gold chains.

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