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Tagore sleuths see key in lock arrest

Santiniketan, April 11: The CID and the local police today arrested a Visva-Bharati peon and a gardener in connection with Friday’s breaking open of the gate of Uddyan Vibhag.

The house of Sunil Dutta, the peon in charge of locking the gate, was raided, yielding the lock that went missing from the Dakshinayan complex. A thick iron ring, a saw and other instruments for cutting metal were also found.

The sleuths said Gopal Bagdi, the gardener of Uddyan Vibhag, told them during interrogation that he had engaged Dutta in return for money. The motive is unclear but diversionary tactic is not ruled out. Some other employees are being questioned.

Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Sujit Basu welcomed the police action. “After our internal probe is over, we will take action against those found guilty.”

Dutta reportedly broke down during questioning and confessed to the act. The sleuths are now hopeful of obtaining leads to those who stole Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medal and other memorabilia from the Rabindra Bhavan museum last month.

“We consider the arrest a significant achievement. We now hope to find out the brain behind the Nobel theft soon and nab the thieves. Interrogation is still underway,” said Vivek Sahay, the CID special superintendent overseeing the probe.

The implements are being examined to find whether these were used in the Tagore heist as both the CID and the CBI, now probing the theft, suspect the same “insiders” may be involved in the Vibhag break-in.

“It may be a deliberate attempt to mislead us. But we have now got a valuable lead and will hopefully solve the case soon,” a senior CID officer said.

Investigation into the break-in started after Visva-Bharati lodged a complaint, the police said. This morning, they summoned for interrogation the 38 security staff members and Dutta, who had first raised the alarm on Saturday.

“He was giving a lot of contradictory statements to his colleagues and to us about the scene at the place of occurrence when he first saw it,” Bolpur police station officer-in-charge Mrityunjoy Banerjee said. The other guards revealed that Dutta was somewhere else at the time he claimed he was near the Vibhag.

 

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