Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday issued an order to entrust the CBI with the probe into the fire incident at the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple that burnt down a chariot.
“The government has decided to entrust the case of burning of the temple chariot in Antarvedi village in Sakhinetipalli Mandal of East Godavari district to the Central Bureau of Investigation,” Principal Secretary Kumar Vishwajeet said.
The move comes in the wake of calls from various quarters for a transparent investigation into the case wherein a seven-tiered six-decade-old wooden chariot at the Antarvedi temple was gutted in a fire under mysterious circumstances on Saturday night.
“Some political parties had demanded a CBI probe. The Chief Minister, in order to manifest transparency, has instructed the DGP to hand over the case to the central agency,” said an official.
According to the official, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy took the chariot burning case seriously.
“The Chief Minister has taken the matter seriously. When the police was trying its best to probe the case, there was criticism from political and other groups which cast aspersions on the state government in mainline and social media by spreading falsehood,” he said.
The official said that the state government would not spare anyone found guilty, irrespective of their position.
Under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, the state government accorded consent to the CBI to exercise its power and jurisdiction in the entire state to investigate the chariot case.
The official order came after Reddy decided on Thursday evening to hand over the probe to the CBI, as the East Godavari district police is yet to crack the case even after five days.
Incidentally, the surveillance cameras supposed to keep a vigil on the chariot were dysfunctional for the past 15 days, compelling the government to suspend temple official Chakradar Rao.
Following the blaze, opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, Telugu Desam Party and Janasena had targeted the state government for alleged laxity in protecting Hindu temples.
Scenic Antarvedi is located in the lush green Konaseema region of East Godavari district, 57 km southeast of Bhimavaram. The temple is located near the confluence of the mighty Godavari river and the Bay of Bengal on the east coast of India.