A red sandalwood rosary, which is said to have been given to Sant Kabir in the 15th century by his guru, has gone missing from the sanctum of Kabir Ashram in the Chetganj area of Varanasi.
A monk and two of his accomplices, said to be hailing from Thailand and regular visiors to the ashram, are allegedly involved in the theft. They are said to have replaced the original rosary with the commonly found Rudraksha rosary before they left the ashram. The theft occurred Saturday but came to light Sunday morning.
An FIR under Sections 419 and 420 (pertaining to cheating and fraud) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered at Chetganj police station.
“Inspector General (Varanazi Zone) G L Meena said: “We have issued alerts at the airports and are also checking dharamshalas and hotels to trace the suspects. We are also trying to get in touch with the Indian Embassy in Thailand to know about the people who came to India from there in the last few days. A photograph of a man, said to be the guru of the monk, has also been found at the ashram.”
Meena added that the ashram inmates and office-bearers have accepted there was a serious lapse on their part In his complaint,
Devsharan Das, the mahant who was taking care of the affairs in the absence of head mahant Vivekdas, has said that the monk and two others, wearing the Buddhist Lama’s dress, came to the ashram around 12.30 p.m. Saturday.
The monk requested for meditation for five minutes in the sanctum. When the door was opened, the two others accompanying him began distributing money to some of the priests and a manager present there.
“Within minutes, he came out, put the lock and handed the key to Devsharan. In the meantime, his accomplices had distributed two 1,000 notes in Thai currency besides Rs 100 to a couple of other priests. Nobody suspected anything till Sunday morning. When the sanctum was opened, the rosary was found to have been replaced by a Rudraksha rosary,” said Mahant Vivekdas, who reached the ashram from Raipur in Chhattisgarh, soon after he heard the news.