The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Santiniketan break-in rerun

Santiniketan, April 10: Burglars sneaked into the Dakshinayan complex in Visva-Bharati, broke open the Uddyan Vibhag gate and made away with the lock that secured it, despite CBI and CID sleuths crawling all over the town following the heist of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medal.

At least 30 guards patrol the campus at night, following the theft of the Nobel and other memorabilia from the Uttarayan complex barely 100 metres away.

The Visva-Bharati guards patrolling the area confirmed that the entrance gate of Uddyan Vibhag was firmly bound by an iron chain and a heavy lock was in place. At dawn, a guard noticed that the chain was lying on the ground, the gate was open and the iron lock was missing.

Preliminary investigations conducted by the Visva-Bharati authorities have revealed that one of the guards patrolling the area saw a “senior level” Visva-Bharati official strolling in the area late at night. “I did not find anything amiss, but sometime later I found the lock broken,” the guard is said to have told police and university authorities.

University vice-chancellor Sujit Basu described the incident — at Dakshinayan complex, the second-most high-security place in this town — “unusual” and has lodged a complaint with the police. “This might have a connection with the Nobel theft probe, but only a proper inquiry will reveal the truth,” Basu told The Telegraph.

Arup Sil of Watch and Ward, Visva-Bharati’s internal security organisation, passed off the incident as a “prank”. However, the CBI and the CID are reading more into the incident and have already begun inquiries to ascertain whether somebody is trying to mislead the investigators probing the “insider role” in the Tagore heist.

The gate that was broken open is adjacent to the Upasana griha, where some miscreants had in 1999 left behind empty beer bottles, prompting a CBI inquiry. One guard was later suspended.

Three years later, a mysterious fire had broken out in the Upasana griha complex, which promoted the authorities to beef up security in the area and declare it a high-security zone.

“The guards have been giving conflicting statements about the patrolling of the area, barely 20 metres from the main road,” said Rabindranath Sarkar, the sub-divisional police officer in Bolpur.

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