‘Siddantha Mandir Temple’ at Moodabidri
Mangalore, (Karnataka), November 5, 2013: In one of the important developments, the rare precious Jain idols that were stolen from the ‘Siddantha Darshan temple’ of Moodabidiri have been recovered today evening. Speaking to Nitin H.P. of WWW.JAINHERITAGECENTRES.COM (JHC) on phone His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji the pontiff of Moodabidri Jain Math has confirmed this.
First Confirmation to JHC – The news was first communicated to JHC by R.P.Jain of New Delhi at 9.00 pm on November 5, 2013.
How was it Recovered, What happened & Who were present during the recovery?
- Unlike many other theft cases the recovery of the Jain idols has a very interesting story. A well packed box weighing about 750 Grams containing the Jain idols that were stolen from the Siddantha Mandir were sent to the police commissioner office at Mangalore through speed post from Bhubaneshwar.
- The police commissioner’s office invited Abhijith M. and Bhattarakha Swamiji of Moodabidri Jain Math to visit their office as they will be opening the box and as per some confidential sources they had received a communication stating that the box contains the stolen idols from ‘Siddantha Darshan temple’ and that they would like to have their presence during this process.
- The Bhattarakha Swamiji was called up at around 7.00 pm to kindly visit the Mangalore police commissioner office. Immediately Swamiji started for Mangalore.
- Who were present –
- From police department – Mangalore police commissioner – Manish Kharbhikar, assistant commissioner of police – Ravikumar, investigating officer of the case – Ananthapadmanab, police inspector, Ramesh Kumar.
- From Jain Samaj – Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji, Abhijith M & Sudesh Kumar.
- Opening of the Box – Exactly at 8.35 pm with the video cameras the box was opened and the idols were taken out of the box.
- What was present in the box? A total of 12 idols, 7 of them made of different precious stones, 5 idols made of spathika (natural crystal). Of the 5 spathika idols one of them is broken.
Idols that were recovered earlier during a raid to the prime accused’s wifes (Deeptimoyi Mohanty Pattnaik) house by ACP Ravikumar & team with the help of Nitinjeet Singh (deputy commissioner of police, Bhuvaneshwar) on July 18, 2013?
- 1 Tirthankar idol is standing posture made of Neela Mani (blue stone)
- 1 Tirthankar idol is sitting posture made of Neela Mani (blue stone)
- 1 Tirthankar idol is sitting posture made of Spathika
- Gold ingots that were recovered that are said to have been obtained by melting the 5 gold Jain idols.
- Sizes of Gold Ingots that were recovered – 12.5 X 2.8 Cms, 2.6 X 4.2 Cms, 2.7X 1.3 Cms, 12.3X2.7 Cms, 1.7X1 Cms.
- Total weight of the gold ingots – 1 Kg 22 Grams.
- Melting of Jain Idols – However questions are still on about the melting of the gold idols as the actual worth of the antique gold idols are more by many fold rather than the gold ingots. So doubts are still on if the gold idols have been really melted or not.
- Hopes are still on about recovering the gold Jain idols.
Gold Ingots Sent for Laboratory Testing – The gold ingots that were recovered during the raid to the prime accused’s house have been sent for laboratory testing to ascertain if the recovered gold ignots were obtained by melting the Jain idols. Abhijith M. who was present at the time of opening the boxes confirmed this to JHC.
Total Number of Idols Recovered – Out of the 20 idols stolen 15 have been recovered (3 recovered earlier and 12 that were recovered at Mangalore) and 5 gold idols are yet to be recovered.
When was it Stolen? The Jain idols made of precious stones had been stolen from the historic Siddantha Mandir located in the premises of the Guru Basadi belonging to the Moodabidri Jain Math on the night of Friday July 5, 2013. This had come to light on Saturday July 6, 2013 morning at 9.45 am when the manager of the Jain Math he had taken the devotees for Siddantha Darshan.
What is Siddantha Darshan?
Siddantha Darshan is an arrangement of Jain idols made of precious stones that include Sapphire, Manikya, Pachhe, Neela and many other precious stones. The darshan of these idols is restricted only to the Jains owing security reasons.
Who are the prime accused?
The prime accused of this case is Ghanshyam Das alias Santhosh Das of Bhubaneshwar in Orissa who had stolen all the idols from the Siddantha Mandir and had sold it to (as confirmed by Ghanshyam Das) a person called Subhash Sancheti S/o Jugraj Sancheti of M/s Anoop Chand Trilok Chand from Raipur, the largest Jeweller from Chattisgarh. It si said that during interrogation, Ghanshyam Das had also mentioned that enquire Sadu Bhai of Subhash Sancheti i.e. Ashok Barediya, a partner of M/s Anoop Chand Trilok Chand.
It is significant to note that the biggest campaign ever for recovery of the stolen Jain idols was led by Mr.Gajendra Patni of Jaspu, Chattisgarh. He led repeated demonstrations and media campaign in Chattisgarh.
Swamiji’s Reaction – Speaking to JHC, His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji the pontiff of Moodabidri Jain Muth has said that the recovery of the Jain idols was possible because of the penance of Jain ascetics, Jain shravakas, Jain diginataries; blessings of Jain Acharyas – Acharya 108 Sri Vidyanandji Maharaj; Acharya 108 Sri Vardhamansagarji Maharaj; Acharya 108 Sri Vidhyasagarji Maharaj; his diksha guru His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukkeerthi Bhattarakha Swamiji; efforts of Jain dignitaries like Dr.D.Veerendra Heggde and others. Amongst others he also praised the efforts of the Mangalore Police Commissioner Manish Kharbhikar and his team. He has also thanked the support extended by the media (both print and electronic) in the case.
Swamiji applaudes JHC – His Holiness Swamiji has applauded the support extended by the team at WWW.JAINHERITAGECENTRES.COM (JHC) in publicising the news of the theft and bringing about the awareness on this among the Jains across the world. While prasing JHC’s efforts Swamiji was particularly impressed by mail sent by Nitin H.P. of JHC to the Commissioner of police about the suspicious calls received by him and Sudeep Jain (an acitve volunteer of JHC from Moodabidri) on the night of July 5 at 3.11 am.
Charukeerthi Swamiji (Shravanabelagola), Dr.D.Veerendra Heggde, Abhayachandra Jain & D.Suerendra Kumar’s Efforts – It can be recalled here that His Holiness Swasti Sri Charukeerthi Bhattrakha Swamiji of Shravanabelagola Jain Math, Dr.D.Veerendra Heggde the Dharmadhikari of Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala, Sri Abhayachandra Jain, the MLA form Moodabidri and a minister of Youth affairs in the Government of Karnataka and Sri D.Surendra Kumar, the executive president of Bharatiya Jain Milan had been perusing the case incessantly, with the Government of Karnataka.
Shifting the case from Section 411 to 413 – Sri R.P.Jain of New Delhi has opined that case has to be reviewed and the culprits have to be booked under section 413 instead of section 411 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). He has further opined that it has to be investigated as to How did the people who sent the idols through speed post acquired the idols, why did they hide and why did they conceal it for so long. Further, they have parceled it only now when they are in tanterhooks when the investigation was gaining further momentum and when pressure was building on the Governments of Karnataka and Chattisgarh to refer the case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Further, R.P.Jain is in full of praise of Manish Kharbhikar and his team in investigating the case.
Next Steps – The idols will be produced in the Moodabidiri court and steps will be taken to hand over the idols to the Jain Muth. Further investigations have to be done as to who sent the idols to the police commissioner’s office in Mangalore and how were they able to procure/acquire them and other related facts. The police have denied to disclose the details of the sender and are investigating further on this.
JHC sincerely hopes that better safety measures are taken by the Jain temple authorities across the world so that such mishaps do not occour. – Inputs from Charukeerthi Bhattarkha Swamiji (Moodabidri), Abhijith M. (Moodabidri), R.P.Jain (New Delhi), Nitin H.P.(Bangalore/Mysore), Jain Heritage Centres News Service