HC reserves order on Sarkar plea to survey Fatehpur site

PRASHANT PANDEY

The Allahabad High Court Tuesday reserved its judgment on a petition filed by Swami Shobhan Sarkar seeking permission to carry out the survey of a site in Fatehpur district, where he claims that around 2,500 tonnes of gold is buried.

The court fixed Wednesday for pronouncing judgement on the matter.

The petition prayed for quashing of the District Magistrate's order, passed a few days ago, to stop the survey being carried out at the behest of Sarkar by a few experts from Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K), and Indian School of Mines (ISM), (Dhanbad).

According to the petition, Sarkar had paid nearly Rs 10 lakh to IIT-K and ISM for the survey and the DM's order to halt the survey was invalid.

The petitioner also argued that the site was not a protected monument of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and, therefore, there should be no problem in carrying out a survey of the area by a reliable agency.

The matter had initially come up before a Division Bench of Justices V K Shukla and Suneet Verma on December 12. However, Justice Verma recused himself from hearing the matter following which it was referred to the Chief Justice. He nominated the matter to the Division Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Vipin Sinha.

"The bench, headed by Justice Bhushan, heard us and the government counsel,and reserved the judgment on the matter. It has fixed Wednesday for judgment," said senior advocate Umesh Narain Sharma, who argued for the petitioner.

Sarkar, through his disciple Swami Omji, had earlier written to the Fatehpur district administration and others, claiming that around 2,500 tonnes of gold was deposited beneath a chabutara (raised square) near a Shiv Temple on the premises of the Fort of King of Rewa in Adampur area of Fatehpur district. The gold was given to his guru by one of the kings of Rewa, it was claimed.

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