Two men held in Kolkata for shawl theft at Delhi museum
Kolkata: Exactly two weeks after thieves entered the National Handicrafts and Handlooms Museum at Bhairon Marg in Lutyens’ Delhi and decamped with 16 Kashmiri shawls, some dating back to Mughal emperor Babur’s time, Delhi Police and Tollygunge Police arrested the two accused from a hotel in the Tollygunge area.
According to Kolkata and Delhi Police sources, the two have been identified as Binay Parmar and Binay Hargoria. They were produced in the Alipore chief judicial magistrate court and granted three days’ transit remand.
Sources said they had switched off their mobile phones soon after stealing the shawls. Tilak Marg Police in Delhi realized the accused had switched on their phones only after checking in at Naman Inn on Pratapaditya Road. Parmar, the main accused, was intercepted on Park Street and brought to Tollygunge police station after which Hargoria was arrested.
Police said the accused often visited the museum, where they would enquire about the antique value of the shawls. Parmar had gone to the museum on the day of the theft. “But the CCTV camera could not locate him coming out. It seems he had stayed back till late evening and escaped from a rear gate. His mobile tower location showed he was at this spot before it was switched off at night. The mobile was switched on again in Kolkata, which led Delhi Police to rush there,” said an official. Sources said the accused was an antique dealer.
Museum authorities said the two posed as scholars researching the history of shawls and had done a recce of the museum earlier. According to police, they used blades to cut open the lamination on the shawls and removed them carefully. The theft was discovered only on October 31 morning by the custodian of the museum as the premises were closed on Sunday and Monday. “Though visitors are not allowed in on the days the museum is closed, the two ‘researchers’ had sought special permission to enter,” said D Rama Krishna Rao, senior administrative officer of the museum.