The Visakhapatnam Police, on Wednesday, said that they arrested eight people in connection with the theft of brass items, weighing 550 kg, from Simhachalam temple. The items, worth Rs 1.2 lakh, were reportedly stolen from the Devasthanam’s Kalyana Mandapam.
The Simhachalam temple officials, on Saturday, lodged a complaint with the police against the theft of brass offerings. The offerings which included brass replicas of bulls and oxen were donated by devotees to Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple. Simhachalam temple AEO, P Rama Rao, had stated that the brass items, weighing around 665 kg, were packed in 41 bags and kept covered with an iron mesh at the Kalyana Mandapam within the temple premises. The valuables were auctioned recently and the bidder was expected to collect them from the temple. However, the temple authorities were alerted when 34 bags, of the total 41, went missing.
A police team, led by Airport sub-inspector (crime) A Manmadha Rao, as per the directives of Police Commissioner Manish Kumar Sinha, arrested the accused. The arrested individuals have been identified as K Suresh, K Mahesh, S Srinivas, S Sateesh, P Apparao, V Ramu, M Rajasekhar Reddy, and A Venkat Kumar. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crimes), V Suresh Babu, while addressing a press conference on Wednesday said that all the accused belong to different parts of the district.
The police informed that four of the accused had converted the brass items into ingots in a bid to deceive the police. Around 473 kg of brass was recovered from them in the form of ingots.
Meanwhile, a senior assistant working at Simhachalam temple has been suspended by the endowments department for allegedly committing irregularities and encouraging illegal encroachments.