Theft of Gandhi specs: Mystery over identity of suspect continues

Gandhi SpecsA pair of wire rimmed glasses once owned by Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi are on display before being auctioned at Antiquorum Auctioneers in New York. (Reuters File Photo)

Investigating authorities have put a veil of secrecy over the reported unraveling of the mystery behind theft of Mahatma Gandhi specs from Sevagram Ashram three years ago, saying they won't be able to say anything regarding the "highly sensitive" matter.

Talking to The Indian Express, Additional Director General of Police (Protection of Civil Rights) V D Mishra, supervising the probe, refused to say anything on the matter. "To whether the man named by Wardha police as suspect in the case has been detained or arrested, or to whether he had confessed to the crime as reported in a section of the media, Mishra said, "I won't say anything on the highly sensitive matter at this stage."

Curiously, however, Mishra also said, "I have nothing to add to what has already appeared in the Press."

When asked if that meant the reports are correct. Mishra said, "I won't comment."

The specs had gone missing three years ago and the matter was handed over to the state CID (Crime). A lot of speculations were raised during the investigation with needle of suspicion also pointing in the direction of some Ashram inmates. A theory of an inmate having connections to a French visitor had also made rounds briefly.

The probe, however, had always hit a dead-end with investigators getting nothing substantial to pin anyone in the Ashram down.

A story has appeared in a section of the media that the Wardha police had caught hold of a 28-year old engineering diploma holder man, who had also reportedly confessed to the crime.

The story making rounds is that man had reportedly pocketed the specs in sheer panic when some Ashramite had walked into the Bapu Kuti (where Gandhi had lived) while he (the suspect) was fiddling with the antique piece after accidentally opening the lock of the almirah where it was kept.

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