Pune: Ekvira temple spire stolen in 2017 found; two arrested

Published: 07 May, 2019 22:59 IST | PTI |

The gold-coated spire of the Ekvira temple located near Karla caves in Lonavala, a hill station about 65km from Pune city, was stolen on October 3, 2017

Representational Image
Representational Image

Pune: The police Tuesday claimed to have cracked the case of spire stolen from the Ekvira temple more than one-and-a-half years ago with the arrest of two persons from the adjoining Ahmednagar district in Maharashtra.

The gold-coated spire of the Ekvira temple located near Karla caves in Lonavala, a hill station about 65km from Pune city, was stolen on October 3, 2017. The Ekvira goddess is the family deity of the Shiv Sena's Thackeray family and after the spire was stolen,the issue was raised in the state assembly also.

The state government had asked the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to probe the case. While the CID was investigating the case, the Pune rural police continued their own investigation and arrested two persons from Ahmednagar district Tuesday. Rahul Gawande and Somnath Gawade, both aged 23, were apprehended from Dhamangaon village under Akole tehsil of Ahmednagar district, the police said.

According to the police, the duo had come to take part in the annual gathering of the temple when they stole the spire. Sandip Patil, Superintendent of Police (Pune Rural), said, "During the annual gathering, the duo heard a devotional song describing the gold spire at the Ekvira goddess's temple which brought their attention towards it. On the same night, they decided to steal the spire." Renovation work was going at the temple during the annual gathering for which some ladders and ropes were installed around the hilltop shrine, he said.

"The duo used these ropes and ladders to reach the top of the temple and managed to steal the spire. "They gave a statement that while they were stealing the spire, a devotee spotted them and shouted at them. Therefore, they ran towards the forest area near the temple and hid the spire there," Patil said.

According to the police, the duo later tried to sell the spire, but realised it was not made of gold but had only coating of the yellow metal. Patil said during the probe the local Crime Branch received a tip-off about the duo, who had hidden the spire in forest to avoid detection by the police.

"Based on the information, our team managed to nab the duo, who not only confessed to the crime but also showed the place where the spire was hidden," Patil said. The SP announced a cash reward of Rs 35,000 for the investigating team for cracking the case.

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