PUNE: The Pune rural police have questioned 20 people, having past record of stealing idols from temples, in connection with the theft of an idol [sic] from a temple at Bajarangwadi near Shikrapur. But even after a month of the theft taking place, the police have failed to make any headway in the case.
The nearly-200-year-old idol [sic] of Krishna was stolen along with silver ornaments from the temple at Bajarangwadi, about 50 km from Pune, on April 12. The police had even prepared a sketch of the suspect based on the description given by the temple priest Krishnaraj Shastri.
Additional superintendent of police (Pune rural) Ashok Morale said, "The local crime branch of the Pune rural police is also investigating the case along with the Shikrapur police." We hope to make a breakthrough in the case soon, he added.
This is the third such case in the jurisdiction of the Pune rural police in the last four months.
On January 17, some miscreants dug up the mausoleum of courtesan Mastani at Pabal near Shikrapur in hope of getting "hidden wealth".
On January 20, antique jewellery adorning the idol of goddess Shivai at Shivneri fort in Junnar taluka was found stolen. However, the Pune rural police nabbed two men Balu Mukane of Junnar and Madhukar Mukane of Otur within two days and recovered the booty from them.
Earlier in November 2008, a silver idol [sic] of a snake was stolen from a temple at Lonavla. "We have arrested one person and recovered part of the idol," Morale added.
Morale said, "Most of the thefts at temples have been detected. Most of the suspects are local criminals and there is no involvement of any gang. We have intensified patrolling at historical places and temples to avert such thefts in future. But it is not possible to provide security to each and every temple and historical places in the district. It is also the responsibility of the temple authorities to take proper security measures." We have also suggested that the temples employ private security and also ensure that all the doors and windows are properly closed when not being used, he added.
Inspector Bhausaheb Andhalkar of the local crime branch said, "We held meetings of trustees of temples at various police stations during which they were briefed about the security measures".