VARANASI: In a chance discovery, a newly-constructed illegal shopping complex spread over 8,000 square feet has been found beneath old structures just a few steps away from the Kashi Vishwanath Temple in Varanasi. As the underground illegal construction has been found in a highly-sensitive zone, the ADG (law and order) has sought a report in this connection.
The structure was unearthed in Dalmandi area, barely 50 metres from the “yellow zone” (outer security cordon) of the temple complex when district police chief RK Bhadrdwaj on a patrolling duty on Tuesday night.
According to police, SSP Bhardwaj was on foot patrol late on Tuesday night with his team when he noticed light coming from a ventilator under an old ‘katra’ (lane of shops) in Dalmandi. “When I looked through the ventilator, I saw a labourer busy in construction work. When I enquired about the entry, he guided me to cover a long distance and reach near Beniabagh Park to enter the basement where he was working. On entering the basement, I was surprised to see the huge secret underground structure,” the SSP told TOI on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) recommended suspension of one assistant engineer and two junior engineers after sealing the structure and unauthorized portions of many illegal buildings in the area. Also, role of other VDA officials, police and local intelligence unit and local criminal gangs, who could be involved in illegal constructions in Dalmandi area, is being examined.
“The basement has been created under several old houses and the construction was going on for the past two years. A probe has been initiated in this connection,” he added. He said the main focus of the police probe would be to find out the purpose of the construction in the vicinity of the highly-sensitive KVT complex. Several terrorist outfits had threatened to target the site in the past.