Speaking at the press conference on January 22, Krishna district SP M Ravindranath Babu said that they have identified around 100 people indulging in treasure hunting across the region. However, cops explained that the number of people indulging in this type of illegal activity could be close to 300 as they believe several miscreants come in from other neighbouring states as well.
Police acknowledge that treasure trove gangs usually operate in Rayalaseema but have now expanded across Guntur and Krishna region. During the press conference, cops showed the video footage taken by the seven-member gang which not includes the Nandi idol but also other temples in Guntur district.
“We have taken cognizance of these gangs whom we found conducting recces across different temples believing in myths and superstitions,” Ravindranath Babu said. Explaining the modus operandi, cops said that some of these gangs don’t just focus on digging up the temple premises but also to break the idols to see if there are any treasures within them.
“By and large they have been unsuccessful but perhaps in one or two cases they may get something like coins and other valuables which may not be worth the effort,” a senior police officer said. Among the 44 temple-related cases focused by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), seven of them so far have been committed by treasure trove gangs where over 42 persons have already been arrested.
“Some of the false myths are being circulated amongst villagers where they believe that some of these ancient temples might have been built with hidden treasures kept as its foundation by different kinds of dynasties. So far, nothing has been detected by the criminals officials,” the senior police officer added.