Pappu Malviya, 30, sleeps on a pavement outside a vegetable mandi (market) in Bhopal’s Old City area. His belongings include a pair of trousers, a shirt, a sheet, a pair of slippers and Rs 20.
On the days he is lucky, he earns Rs 100 a day.
Still, when fortune landed on his lap in the form of a 10-kilogram silver brick worth Rs 2 lakh, Malviya did not run away with it.
He deposited the brick with a policeman on duty.
“Pappu was a bit drunk when he gave me the brick. But he was in his senses. He told me he had a brick that looked liked silver,” said constable Santosh Saini.
“His honesty is unparalleled. If he wanted, he could have kept the brick or ran away with it,” added inspector Nagendra Pateria of the Hanumanganj police station.
Sitting inside the police station, Malviya is running high fever. But he doesn’t have the money to buy medicines.
Ask him the value of the brick and he says with a lost look: “Must be around Rs 6,000 to 7,000.”
Why did he part with it? Tears roll down his face. “ I want to make a living only through hard work. What would I have done with it? Where would I have gone with it?” he asks, with folded hands. Another worker, who sleeps on the same footpath as Malviya, discovered the brick while digging a sewer tank on August 12. When he mentioned it to Malviya, the two decided to hand it over to the police.
Hindustan Times could not independently locate Malviya’s labourer friend despite several attempts. The police are not aware of his identity either.
And what reward was he expecting? “A new shirt and trousers.”