The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Campus gears up for Buddha

Santiniketan, March 27: A day after appealing to the felons to return Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize and other artefacts, Visva-Bharati vice-chancellor Sujit Kumar Basu today said the CBI should be brought in and a “multi-agency” probe launched into the audacious heist.

“After a marathon meeting yesterday with senior VB officials, I have sent a report to the Prime Minister, where I have fully endorsed the views of my colleagues and recommended a CBI probe into the case,” Basu said.

He dismissed speculation that the university authorities have lost faith in the CID investigation ordered by the state government.

“Our purpose is to get back the lost items and all investigating and intelligence agencies are welcome to help the probe move towards the right direction,” Basu said.

The vice-chancellor said the issue of handing over the investigation to the CBI was not discussed during his meeting with Mamata Banerjee, who called on him this morning at his office.

In the midst of investigations, the spate of VIP visitors has doubled the workload of the local police.

Many officials and forces from nearby police stations in Birbhum as well as other districts have been drafted in to tackle the situation.

Soon after Mamata left Santiniketan today, preparations started for the visit of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, who is slated to arrive tomorrow afternoon.

“I have just reached here with a force. I have been called here to tackle law and order problems during the next few days,” said Umashankar Mukherjee, circle inspector of Rampurhat police station.

Several rallies, processions and meetings were held through the day by different groups. Men and women were seen marching on all major roads and lanes in and around Santiniketan, mostly silent.

The Adhyapak Sabha, the teachers’ body of Visva-Bharati University, which had maintained silence since news of the heist broke, took out a procession in the morning. “We do not have words to express our grief. We deeply the mourn the loss of our treasure,” said Debashis Bhattacharya, general secretary of the organisation.

The political gamesmanship continued with the Democratic Youth Federation of India, the CPM’s youth wing, organising a rally and shouting slogans against the Trinamul Congress’s “move to politicise the issue”.

Still reeling under the shock, the university authorities have called an urgent meeting of its executive committee on March 31.

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