The said panchayat secretary, identified as Monappa, it is gathered, had given the key of the locker to the temple employee, Nagaraja, reposing trust on his sincerity, and also for the convenience of daily puja and other procedures held at the temple.
Recently, the district deputy commissioner had ordered to hand over temple management and bunch of keys of the temple to the newly formed temple committee. Date had been fixed for this handing over, but when Monappa sought bunch of keys, Nagaraja told him that the bunch had gone missing. A thorough search for the keys was conducted, and it was found in the shelter of Tulasi plant attached to the temple after two days.
On Tuesday July 19, when handing over charge to the new committee, the locker was opened in the presence of new committee members. It was found that gold ornaments weighing 54.940 grams worth Rs 1,90,000 had gone missing.
Temple supervisor, Monappa, filed a complaint in Subrahmanya police station on Wednesday, suspecting the role of either priest, Murali Venkatesh, or temple staff, Nagaraja, in this theft. Police circle inspector from here V Krishnayya, visited the temple and questioned the concerned but failed to get any lead about this theft, it is said.
Reportedly, as soon as the complaint was filed, priest of the temple, Murali Venkatesh, fled at night with wife and children, to an unknown destination. Temple assistant, Nagaraja, is being interrogated by the police. The police team entrusted with investigation is making all out efforts to trace missing priest and arrest him.