UPA’s infinite wisdom: Minister seeks 2 more digs,‘airlift’ of 4,000 tonnes of goldhttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/upas-infinite-wisdom-minister-seeks-2-more-digs-airlift-of-4-000-tonnes-of-gold/

UPA’s infinite wisdom: Minister seeks 2 more digs,‘airlift’ of 4,000 tonnes of gold

Shobhan Sarkar has dreamt of more treasure; MoS Mahant writes to culture minister to ‘act’.

Unfazed by the widespread criticism of the Archaeological Survey of India’s treasure hunt in Unnao,said to have been undertaken at his behest,union minister Charan Das Mahant has now asked the culture ministry to excavate two other sites where sadhu Shobhan Sarkar dreamt 4,000 tonnes of gold is buried.

He has also requested that arrangements be made to “airlift” the treasure amid tight security.

In a letter dated October 18,the minister of state for agriculture wrote to Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch referring to “two more treasures which need to be acted upon without any time loss”.

He asked Katoch to “consider sending a joint team” with representatives of the Ministry of Finance,Reserve Bank of India,ASI and the Geological Survey of India.

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Mahant also suggested that this team be sent with “full paramilitary security for airlifting the treasure by Air Force choppers immediately… preferably before 21st October,2013”.

The letter says Sarkar has “offered” to reveal the location of a treasure of 2,500 tonnes of gold in the Adampur gram panchayat area in Fatehgarh fort and another 1,500 tonnes of gold at a Kanpur Nagar (Chaubeypur and Parade areas) site.

Mahant said in the letter that Sarkar’s ashram has not only offered to help with digging at these two sites — where the treasure is supposedly quite close to the surface — but has also offered to keep a security deposit/bond of Rs 10 lakh with the Centre which can be forfeited if the treasure is not found.

Mahant’s office followed up his request,sending a series of letters to the culture ministry,the Department of Economic Affairs and ASI,urging them to immediately excavate these two sites to avoid inviting the “charge of inaction”.

While senior agriculture ministry officials confirmed that Mahant had indeed written to the culture minister on the two new treasures,the minister himself was not available for comment. Last week,Sarkar’s followers had sent letters to the PM and the finance minister,among others,about these two new alleged treasure sites. However,ASI director general Pravin Srivastava said he had received no information on these sites yet.

“We have no such information as of now. Even if such information is brought to our notice we will first establish the historical value of the site,and only on that basis decide whether or not to excavate the site,” Srivastava told The Sunday Express.

The Indian Express had first reported on October 11 on how the ASI was about to begin digging at Raja Rao Ram Bux Singh’s fort in Daundiya Kheda village of Unnao district in Uttar Pradesh after Sarkar dreamed that 1,000 tonnes of gold was buried there,and convinced Mahant that it could help alleviate some of India’s financial difficulties.