The dacoity at a temple built by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh in Vidisha has kept police in six districts on their toes for over three weeks.
Chasing one elusive lead after another, the policemen have questioned more than 100 suspects and in the process solved some other cases of temple thefts, but so far failed to nab any of the four men involved in the April 11 dacoity.
The dacoits had beaten up a constable posted at the Badh Wale Ganesh temple, and escaped with a silver crown and a couple of ornaments.
The stolen ornaments worth about Rs two lakh.
The crime at the VIP temple, frequently visited by the Chouhans, took place a couple of weeks before the constituency went to poll on April 24. The CM has visited the temple twice after the dacoity and several senior police officers, including those from Bhopal, were keeping themselves abreast with the probe. Three days ago, the DGP announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for clues to the criminals.
The robbery has left the Ganesh idol damaged. Shivraj has reportedly ordered a replacement, and the new idol would be installed after the code of conduct comes to an end.
The temple is located on the banks of Betwa and the original idol had survived a flood (badh in Hindi). The Chouhans later built a bigger temple there.
Vidisha SP Dharmendra Chaudhary told The Indian Express that four teams have been formed and the police were in regular touch with their counterparts in adjoining districts. The SP claimed his seniors were in touch with him because the crime was linked to “religious feelings” and was a top priority.
A sketch of one of the robbers has been prepared, but the police were yet to distribute it as they fear the move might scuttle the probe.