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Ex-priest of Bodh Gaya temple accused of theft
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | June 23, 2008 19:26 IST
Buddhist monks have demanded the arrest of the former chief priest of the Bodh Gaya Mahabodhi temple, Buddhism's holiest shrine, after recovery of ornaments and jewelry donated by devotees from his room.
An official of the Gaya district administration had recovered the missing ornaments and jewelry after they opened a box in the room of the former temple chief priest Bhahadant Bodhipal, official sources said on Monday.
Shocked by the recovery, Bhadant Anand, general secretary of the Akhil Bharatiya Bhikkhu Mahasangh, demanded Bodhipal's arrest. "We were hurt by Bodhipal's action. The government should arrest him," he said.
Official sources at the office of Gaya district magistrate Sanjay Singh, who is the ex-officio chairman of the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, recovered items from Bodhpal's room included a gold crown of nearly one kg and a decorated throne with costly stones and ornaments.
Bodhipal is also one of the three top temple officials accused of allegedly chopping off a branch of the revered Bodhi tree, believed to be the one under which the Buddha attained enlightenment 2,550 years ago. The monks alleged that they chopped off a branch to sell it abroad. Bodhipal was forced to resign after that incident.