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

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.

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".

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