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Raghunathji temple theft: Stolen idols, valuables recovered

Raghunathji temple

Shimla: In a major breakthrough, the Special Investigation Team has recovered all the idols, including the gold idol of Lord Raghunath installed in 16th century, and other valuables stolen from Raghunathji temple in Kullu in December last year, police said today.

The SIT recovered the idol of Raghunathji from Bajaura on border of Mandi and Kullu districts while the idol of Lord Hanuman, a gold plated Narsinh Shila (stone), silver idol of Lord Ganesh, a gold locket and a chain, and some other articles of worship were recovered from Beasa Mor, ADGP (law and order) Sanjay Kundu said.

The SIT had reliable information that the stolen idols and valuables were not taken out of Himachal Pradesh and had been hidden in different parts of the state.

The high profile theft in Raghunathji temple had sent shock waves in Kullu region as Lord Raghunathji was presiding deity of 300 local deities and people pay obeisance to him during the historic Kullu Dussehra festival.

The SIT had zeroed in on some suspects and intensive investigations helped in detecting the exact location of the places where the stolen idols had been hidden, Kundu said.

The state police had sounded Interpol alert and announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh for providing credible information about the thieves and later sketches of some suspects were prepared on the basis of CCTV footage and released to the media.

A prime suspect is reported to have fled to Nepal, he said, adding, more details about the modus operandi adopted by the police in cracking the case would be disclosed later.

The idol of Ragunathji which was supposed to be thousands of years old was brought to Kullu from Ayodhya in sixteenth century and was installed in  Raghunathji temple at Sultanpur in Rupi Palace of Raja of Kullu.

The idols were stolen on the intervening night of December 9 and 10 last year.

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