Updated: July 9, 2015 6:01:42 am
In a daring heist, gold ornaments worth over Rs 50 lakh adorning the Ganesh idol in the well-known Sharada Ganajan Temple in Mandai area were stolen by a man who entered the temple by breaking a glass wall in the early hours of Wednesday. A security camera installed in the premises has captured the suspect.
The incident came to light around 6 am on Wednesday when the priest, Shreepad Kulkarni (53), came to the temple and saw the glass wall on the west side of the temple broken. He rushed to the idol and found that the gold ornaments on the Ganesh idol and several other valuables kept around it were not there. Kulkarni immediately informed the trustees of the temple and the police.
The CCTV footages have shown the middle-aged suspect loitering around the temple around 4.45 am. He is then seen entering the small alley on the west side of the temple and turning the camera to the other side before breaking the glass wall with a cement tile. He can be seen taking off all the ornaments and the fleeing using the same route.
Mandar Joshi of the Akhil Mandali Ganpati Trust said, “After the renovation of the temple two years ago, a large portion of the wall has been made of glass to allow the devotees to take darshan of the idol. The grills have not been installed as it can be an obstacle for devotees to see the idol. As per primary estimates, the gold ornaments stolen weighed around 2.5 kilograms and the estimated value along with the studded jewels is around Rs 50 to 55 lakh. The suspect can even be seen cutting some of the gold ornaments before taking them off the idol.”
Police have registered an offence and prepared a sketch of the suspect based on his face that can be seen in the CCTV footage. Senior inspector Hemant Bhat of Vishrambag police said, “We have released a sketch of the suspect and urge people to contact us if they have any information.”
Anna Thorat, the president of Akhil Mandali Ganpati Trust, said, “We hope the police will soon crack the case. We are extending all support to the probe.”
The temple is visited by thousands, especially during the Ganesh Festival, during which the temple hosts the revered Mandai Ganpati.
The idol of the permanently installed in the temple is over 100 years old.
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