Jewellery worth Rs 20 lakh was stolen from the Shri Vasupujya Swami Jain Shwetambar Murtipujak Sangh in Obaiah Lane, Akkipet, Saturday night.
The theft was discovered by the priest, who entered the three-storey temple dedicated to Jain Tirthankaras early Sunday morning to perform puja.
“One of the security guards came rushing down the stairs and was vomiting, while the remaining four were found lying on the ground sedated,” Kanti Lal, a trustee of the temple, said.
As the priests entered the sacred area of the temple, they found an open safe and an empty almirah and immediately alerted us and called police, he said.
The Cottonpet police claimed the thieves entered the temple complex using gas-cutters. “They broke open the safe in the sacred area and took gold jewels weighing 440 gm. They also took away Rs 2 lakh from seven offering boxes and nearly Rs 3 lakh from a cupboard,” they said.
The police did not discount the possibility of an insider being involved, especially since only the lockers with valuables were targeted while other cupboards left untouched.
They recovered footage from 10 CCTVs but failed to identify the thieves as all three were masked. The thieves damaged the remaining six cameras before the heist.
“We questioned the security guards separately. Their versions are inconsistent with one another. While one claimed food poisoning made him unconscious, another said chloroform was used,” the police said.
The guards are undergoing treatment the Victoria hospital.