Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Treasure hunt in Hyderabad: Archaeology team takes up excavation in search of hidden treasure trove opposite State Secretariat

By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad: A major treasure hunt is now on in the city right
opposite the State Secretariat, and gestimates put it at anything
upward of Rs 20,000 crore.
The State Archaeology Department will take up excavation of an area
supposedly an old tunnel to find out the treasure trove. The operation
jewel hunt will begin at 8.00 am on Sunday. The department conducted a
preliminary survey of the area on Saturday evening amidst tight
security.
According to sources, the Archaeology Department received a sworn-in
affidavit from nine prominent citizens led by Mr DS Rama Raju, an official in the

Coal India Limited, stating that they had
reliable information about a treasure trove in a hidden tunnel on the
premises of a school in front of the State Secretariat. They said they
got the information about two months ago and could not muster enough
courage to reveal it to the authorities concerned for fear of Mafia
attacks.
Based on the affidavit, a team of officials from the Archaeology
Department inspected the site on Saturday evening. They decided to
take up excavation on Sunday morning in the presence of a mason, who
will serve as a guide. Sources said the mason was the first person to
have gone inside the tunnel where he saw two almirahs full of jewels
and precious stones. The mason confided this with his friends in his
village and the information finally reached Mr Raju and other
prominent citizens.
It is believed that there is a small staircase and this leads to the
tunnel like structure behind the compound wall of the school abutting
the Naubat Pahad (Birla Mandir hill). The school building itself is
about 100 years ago and city historians say there was a small cave in
the hill. The tunnel is said to be 12 ft in height and 12 ft in
breadth. Prof P Channa Reddy, State Treasure Trove officer, will
supervise the excavation work.
According to city historian Dr Mohammad Safiullah, many rich families
had built bunkers during the World War II to avoid air strikes by
Japan. One such bunker was unearthed in the nearby Home Science
College in Saifabad. Similar bunkers were also found in the Mint
Compound. As many as a dozen iron safes were recovered from these
bunkers. All of them were empty.
The school building belongs to the heirs of Wanaparthi Samsthan, who
were feudatives of the Nizam. The Samsthan had owned more than one
lakh acres of land and its royal members were quite rich. This gives
credence to the treasure trove theory that a royal member had secretly
kept the jewels and precious stones.
Incidentally, the prominent citizens, who had petitioned the
Archaeology Department, had demanded that they be given their share –
one-fifth of the treasure trove if it were found – under the Treasure
Trove Act 1878.

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