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Jagan Mohan Reddy Directs Police to Hand Over Chariot Fire Probe to CBI

A file photo of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy.

A file photo of CM Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The 60-year-old wooden chariot of the Antarvedi temple was gutted in a mysterious fire in the wee hours of Sunday. The 40-feet high chariot made of teak wood was parked in a shed on the temple premises. The chariot is normally used only during the Radhotsavam at the Lord's celestial wedding festivities.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on Thursday decided to entrust to the CBI the probe into the chariot burning incident at the famous Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi in East Godavari district.

The Chief Minister’s Office said in a release that Jagan has taken the issue “seriously." “In spite of this, and the local investigation which the AP police have taken as a challenge, some political parties and organisations have been demanding for a CBI investigation. As a full transparent government, the Chief Minister has directed the Director General of Police to hand over the investigation to the CBI," the CMO release said.

Accordingly, the DGP wrote a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, it added.

The 60-year-old wooden chariot of the Antarvedi temple was gutted in a mysterious fire in the wee hours of Sunday. The 40-feet high chariot made of teak wood was parked in a shed on the temple premises. The chariot is normally used only during the Radhotsavam at the Lord’s celestial wedding festivities.

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The state government placed the temple executive officer under suspension over the incident and constituted an inquiry committee headed by the Endowments Additional Commissioner. Opposition parties BJP, TDP and Jana Sena blamed the state government for the chariot burning incident and it also acquired religious hues with some groups alleging the lackadaisical attitude of the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in safeguarding Hindu temples.

State Endowments Minister Velampalli Srinivasa Rao alleged that the chariot burning could be a conspiracy by the opposition parties to tarnish the government image. The CMO release on Thursday also pointed to the false propaganda by “some political forces and groups" to create misgivings against the government. “The government is determined to bring the guilty to book, whoever it is," the CMO release asserted.

first published:September 10, 2020, 20:50 IST