Trustees of the famed Lalbaug-cha Raja in Mumbai were in for a shock on Saturday as they counted the millions of rupees that poured in as offerings in the donation boxes during the 12-day Ganeshotsav celebrations last week.
Of the total Rs 5.80 crore (Rs 58 million) tumbling out of the donation boxes, there were 110 notes of Rs 1,000 which was banned in November 2016, said the organisation’s treasurer Mahesh Jadhav.
Jadhav said they had no idea who might have dumped these demonetised notes totalling to Rs 110,000, which now have zero monetary value, despite tight security measures and CCTVs monitoring every corner of the marquee during the entire fest.
“We shall place these notes and discuss the issue with the managing committee soon before taking a decision in the matter. We plan to enquire if the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) still accepts these cancelled currencies, otherwise will do needful as per their advice,” Jadhav told IANS.
After the lapse of the RBI’s various deadlines to deposit the old notes in banks, it is believed that many people still have some of the old currency bills with them which they are disposing off in such a manner without getting into any legal hassles.
This year, around 11 million devotees, including top celebs like Mukesh and Nita Ambani and family, and Amitabh Bachchan and his family visited the Lalbaug-cha Raja marquee in Parel, central Mumbai, which houses one of the biggest and most famous idols of the elephant-headed god Lord Ganesha.
However, the round-the-clock snaking queues of devotees were disrupted for a day or so, during the August 29 Mumbai deluge when the city recorded the highest rainfall in a single day after the great Mumbai flood of July 26-27, 2005.
It is not known whether any other marquee in Mumbai, which organised the Ganeshotsav in a big way this year, had also received donations in the form of demonetised currency notes.