SC to hear plea for court-monitored treasure excavation in Unnao

New Delhi, Oct 18 (IANS) The Supreme Court is likely to hear a PIL seeking court- monitored excavation of gold treasure believed to be buried beneath the ruins of a 180-year-old temple adjoining a fort belonging to erstwhile Bais Rajput rulers in Uttar Pradesh's Unnao district.

As the petitioner, advocate M.L. Sharma mentioned his plea for an early hearing by the court, a bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked him to cure the defects in his petition before it could be taken up for hearing.

The PIL has also sought direction to the central government to depute a military officer, who would - along with the court-appointed monitoring team - supervise the excavation.

As Sharma expressed apprehension that in the absence of a monitoring mechanism there was a likelihood of gold vanishing, the court observed that the state government was there to take care of things.

The details about the 1,000-tonne gold treasure believed buried under the temple were revealed by a priest Swami Shobhan Sarkar who had a dream about it. Following the dream, he wrote to the president, prime minister, Archaeological Survey of India and other authorities.

The ASI which drilled two bore-holes said that at the depth of 20 metres, their drilling was obstructed by something which was not earth. The ASI is going to start excavation from Friday, the PIL said.

The PIL said that Rao Ram Bux Singh, an erstwhile ruler of the area, was hanged by the British during the revolt of 1857. His palace was destroyed but the gold buried in his fort in Daundiya Kheda village of Unnao still remains untraced.

Tracing the history of Daundia Khera, the PIL said that it was an ancient place and the founder of Archaeological Survey of India, Sir Alexander Cunningham, had identified the ancient place Hayamukha with Daundia Khera.

Hayamukha was visited by the famous Chinese traveler Hsiuen-Tsang in the seventh century, who described this place as having five Buddhist monasteries with over a thousand brethren of the Sammatiya School - one of the four main Buddhist sects of that time.

Cunningham asserts that Daundia Khera became the capital of the Bais Rajputs which gave their name to Baiswara in Rae Bareli, UP.

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