The mystery over ‘mineral exploration’ at the centuries-old Chennampalli Fort in Tuggali mandal of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh is deepening.

A person claiming to be a descendant of Owk rulers, who had kinship with Sri Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara empire (daughter of Sri Krishnadevaraya was married into the Owk royalty) has approached the revenue officials staking claim to the fort.

Trivikrama Raju, currently an assistant engineer with the Telangana irrigation department, has approached revenue officials with a laminated document that showed his supposed royal lineage and insisted that it was proof of his Owk ancestry. The revenue officials are learnt to have told him that the fort was a government property and refused to entertain his claim.

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The villagers suspect that Trivikrama Raju was roped in by those behind the treasure hunt in the guise of mineral exploration. They say the way he explained the topography of the fort with the help of some stone engravings and location of vaults containing treasures was suspicious.

Adoni RDO Obulesu, who is supervising the excavation, denied any knowledge of Trivikrama Raju’s claims. “He may be one of the several people who have been visiting the fort, where the excavation is going on. Even if he claims to be a descendant of Owk kings, how can we give credence to his claims?” Obulesu said.

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The excavation at the 14th century fort, spanning 102 acres, was undertaken by government officials after the Department of Mines and Geology said the place could possibly have mineral deposits and precious stones. Precious stones had surfaced in parts of Tuggali, Peravali and Maddikera in Kurnool district and Vajrakarur in Anantapur district, which prompted the authorities to dig up the Chennampalli fort too.

However, they have so far found only black soil, red bricks, bones of a horse, elephant tusk and a boulder with dots resembling the Swastik sign.#KhabarLive

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