Chopped pieces of the sandalwood trees recovered from the pond near Visva-Bharati
Santiniketan, Sept. 18: Visva-Bharati decided not to call police and the stolen sandalwood trees popped up in a pond today.
Chopped pieces of the two trees stolen from the varsity on Monday night were found stuck in the mud floor of the pond less than 1km from the varsity campus in Santiniketan.
Visva-Bharati said “reliable sources” had “tipped off” the authorities on the chopped pieces lying in the pond.
Vice-chancellor Sushanta Dattagupta today said the varsity had not lodged a police complaint because of two reasons.
First, the CBI’s failure to retrieve Tagore’s Nobel medal stolen in 2004. Second, frequent visits by the police to the campus would have disturbed the “precious heritage” of the institution.
U.P. Singh, the chief security officer of Visva-Bharati, said: “Reliable sources told us that the trees could be hidden in a pond at Lalbandh. We went there around 4pm. Our security personnel waded into chest-deep water and found the logs.”
The vice-chancellor said he was “happy” the trees were found “so fast”.
Varsity officials and a section of ashramites questioned the varsity’s decision of not lodging a police complaint. A senior district police officer said Visva-Bharati should have informed the police.
Birbhum police chief C. Sudhakar said: “Visva-Bharati’s contention that police visits would disturb the sanctity of the university is not correct.”
Veteran ashramite and former principal of Patha Bhavana Supriyo Tagore said: “I can only say that had I been in charge, I would have lodged a police complaint.”
A senior professor said he suspected the involvement of “insiders” in the theft. “Insiders could be involved and the authorities are afraid that some officials or staff members could be identified had the police investigated the case.”