Answering lawmakers at the National Concerns and Coordination Committee of the National Assembly, Member Secretary of the PADT Milan Kumar Thapa said he was ready to face death punishment if any embezzlement had occurred in the process. Thapa said it was shameful of the government to cast accusation as it was not conducting any investigation into such cases. “My apologies. But sometimes I feel that the state has only ears but no eyes….. I want to request the government to conduct a thorough investigation into the case,” Thapa said at the meeting.

The placement of golden jalhari at Pashupatinath temple had become controversial since its very inception. On 25 January 2021, former prime minister KP Sharma Oli had decided to provide Rs 300 million to place the golden jalhari at the temple. The then Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation had released the amount and work had started immediately without knowledge of many people within a few days.

Interestingly enough, on February 24, then president Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the incomplete jalhari installation in a dramatic manner. The president’s inauguration was fast tracked as the hearing at the Supremet Court on the case against the installation plan was ongoing on the same day. The court ordered the authorities to halt the installation process.

Since the inauguration was done without completion of the work, around 10 kilograms of gold had yet to be installed at the base of the Shiva Linga which was supposed to be done only by the sacred priests of the temple. However, following the stay order, 10 kilogram of gold was not installed and as per Thapa, the gold is ‘safe with Lord Pashupatinath.’

During today’s questioning, Thapa said the rumours of mixing brass in the jalhari was also just talk as he had asked to weigh the gold to know the difference.

Thapa broke into tears, saying people in his community think of him as the gold thief which has hampered his family life as well.