Nobel probe end hurts varsity

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  • Published 2.09.07

Santiniketan, Sept. 2: Visva-Bharati is hurt by the CBI’s decision to call off the probe into the theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medal.

“I received a letter from the CBI today informing me that it is closing the investigation into the theft of the medallion. Santiniketan is hurt and disappointed,” vice-chancellor Rajat Kanta Ray said.

The university later issued a press release, saying it expected the medals and other stolen mementoes to be returned “voluntarily”. “We hope the person in possession of the objects will voluntarily return the valuable national treasure to Visva-Bharati.”

The CBI had moved a Bolpur court last week seeking permission to call off the search as there has not been any arrest or recovery in three and a half years.

The case could be reopened if any new information or clues emerged, an officer said.

The medals and other memorabilia were stolen from the Rabindra Bhavan museum in March 2004.

“We want the CBI to continue its investigation. We are pained to learn that it is not pursuing the case any more,” said Kishore Bhattacharya, a teacher of Patha Bhavan and general secretary of Adhyapaksabha, which represents the institution’s teachers.

“We want the medal back,” said Debabrata Hajari, the president of Karmisabha, the body of non-teaching employees.

Veteran ashramites like Supriyo Tagore expressed shock and disbelief at the decision and cast doubts on the quality of the probe. “It is not clear to me how could the CBI could abandon a case of national importance. I feel ashamed,” said Supriyo, a descendent of Tagore and former Patha Bhavan chief.

Somendranath Bandopadhyay, a former member of the university’s academic council, said the image of the CBI, has taken a severe beating.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee also could not figure out why the CBI had to end the probe midway. “I can’t understand why the investigating agency, known for its high level of competence, has decided to suspend its search for Tagore’s medallion,” PTI quoted Chatterjee as saying in Calcutta.

The Bolpur MP promised to take up the matter with the Centre and seek a a resumption of the probe.