‘Inquiry report on stolen Quran unattended for years’

April 28th, 2008 - 9:40 pm ICT by admin  

Srinagar, April 28 (IANS) While the police here are still clueless about the theft four years ago of a rare copy of the Quran bearing Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb’s seal, an official of the state archives department has claimed inaction for years over his inquiry report. The prized manuscript was mysteriously stolen in 2003 from the Sri Pratap Singh Museum here and a first information report (FIR) was lodged with the city’s Raj Bagh police station, a police official said.

“The rare Quranic manuscript was stolen in 2003. I conducted an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the theft and made recommendations, including for punitive action against the erring officials at the museum whose negligence made the theft possible,” said Muhammad Shafi Zahid, deputy director at the state’s archives department.

“But senior officials of the department kept my inquiry report unattended all these years,” he claimed.

“The matter was brought to the notice of the commissioner/secretary of the higher education department who agreed with my findings and that is how the present interest was generated in the matter,” Zahid said.

“On my recommendations, physical verification was also carried out at the museum by professors from Benaras Hindu University, Baroda University and the Centre for Asian Studies at Kashmir University. The verification revealed that many rare manuscripts and books worth millions are missing from the museum,” he added.

The police say they are according priority to the case, but have for the past four years failed to make any arrests.

“Because of the importance and significance of the case, investigations were later transferred to the crime branch of the state police. We are investigating the matter, but no accused has still been identified,” said a crime branch official.

“The manuscript is worth millions of rupees and if sold clandestinely it could fetch a heavy price,” another police officials said here.

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