Theft case filed after Mughal-era dagger goes missing from museum

Published: 11th May 2013 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2013 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

Police have registered a case of theft after a Mughal-era dagger went missing from the Red Fort museum here.

The case has been registered after ‘Express’ first highlighted the matter on April 21. Even though the ivory-hilt dagger was missing from the India War Memorial Museum in historic Red Fort since December, the Archaeological Survey of India had not registered a case of theft. After the ‘Express’ report, the ASI gave a fresh complaint to the police, which  registered a case on Tuesday. According to sources, the ASI, which conducted its own inquiry, is still clueless on how the antique was stolen from the museum, which has round-the-clock security and aided by CCTV surveillance.

The dagger, worth several lakhs of rupees in the international market, was housed in gallery 2 of the museum at the Naubat or Naqar Khana in Red Fort. The disappearance came to light in December last when a caretaker surveyed the gallery ahead of the visit of the Singapore Prime Minister to the museum on December 21.

Mysteriously, neither was the lock broken open nor there were any signs of tampering with the glass panel were found.  Only one dagger went missing, while the daggers and swords in the same glass-panelled display window have been left intact.

The ASI sources said action may be taken against the people who were on duty and failed to notice the theft.

The museum displays weapon used by Mughals, Afghans, Rajputs, Hindu and European rulers and soldiers. This incident has once again given a grim reminder of the way Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize medal was stolen from the campus of Visva Bharati University in 2004 and former PM Lal Bahadur Shastri’s gold watch was stolen from his memorial in 2009. None of these goods were ever found.


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