POLICE ARE looking for a 50-year-old man they suspect was behind the alleged theft of 330 kg silver from Sambhavnath Jain temple in Borivli West. The person is a trustee of the temple. An FIR was filed against Mahendra Pavesha, a managing trustee and secretary at the temple, on December 1 at Borivli police station following a complaint by temple trustees. Police said Pavesha’s phone was switched off and he was not present at his residence in Borivli. A notice has been served to his brother.
The silver, believed to be worth over Rs 1.32 crore, was part of a ceremonial chariot and Indra dhvaja. It is unclear when the theft took place. According to one of the trustees who spoke to The Indian Express on condition of anonymity, the chariot and Indra dhvaja were in a bad condition, so the trustees decided to remove the silver and use it elsewhere.
“The silver was to be removed from the chariot and Indra dhvaja in October 2013. Pavesha was in charge of the work. The silver was to be melted and then used as the trustees saw it fit,” he said. Later, however, the silver went missing. At an annual general meeting earlier this year, one of the trustees asked about the silver. According to the trustee, Pavesha was unwell at the time and was in hospital.
“When Pavesha came back, we asked him about the silver. But he did not give a convincing answer. He said he didn’t know,” the trustee said. The chariot was kept in the warehouse on the premises of the temple. The premises have multiple CCTV cameras. But the cameras store footage only of the last 15 days.
By August, the trustees had found out the silver was missing and filed a complaint at Borivli police station on November 1 after waiting for Paryushan, a Jain festival, to get over. Police said they were investigating the case and looking for the accused as well as the stolen silver. A case under sections 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) has been registered.