UP gold hunt: Modi lauds seer

Last Updated: Mon, Oct 21, 2013 07:35 hrs

Ahmedabad: Days after criticising the Centre over excavation for gold at a fort in Uttar Pradesh, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Monday seemed to appease the followers of Hindu seer Sadhu Shobhan Sarkar.

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Friday started excavating the fort of former king Raja Ram Bux Singh in Duandia Khera village in Uttar Pradesh in hope of finding gold worth Rs 31,000 crore.

The operation was undertake by the government body on a mound near a Shiva temple in the village after Sadhu Shobhan Sarkar claimed that he had a dream in which the former king told him about a buried treasure.

"Sant Shobhan Sarkar ke prati anek barshon se lakhon logon ki shraddha juri hui hai, main unki tapasya aur tyag ko pranam karta hun, (For several years, faith of lakhs of people are attached with Shobhan Sarkar. I salute his dedication and sacrifice)," Modi tweeted.

The Gujarat Chief Minister urged the Centre to prepare a white paper in connection with black money stashed abroad.

"Bharat sarkar se agraha karta hu ki yo videsh main jama kale dhan ke sambandh me ak white paper prostut kar desh ki janata ko ashwastha kare (I am urging the Indian government to prepare a white paper in connection with the black money stashed abroad and give relief to the people of the country," he said.

The ASI plans to dig two 100-square-metre blocks beside the palace as District Magistrate Vijay Kiran Anand formally kicked off the excavation saying it would take at least a month to complete.

ASI Deputy Director PK Mishra, who is leading the team, said that the mound being excavated in the 19th century fort could yield items of historical value even if no gold is found.

The work began under intense scrutiny as authorities installed CCTV cameras, cordoned off the area and deployed police personnel to keep the crowd at bay during the excavation.

People from far away descended to the nondescript village to watch the spectacle even as the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a petition that asks judges to monitor the exercise searching for 1,000 tonnes of buried gold.

More from Sify: