A miniature Padma Bhushan award plaque and jewellery worth lakhs of rupees were reportedly found stolen from the residence-turned-museum of late Hindi writer Nirmal Verma at Patparganj in east Delhi on Tuesday night, police said.
After the writer’s death, his wife Gagan Verma had turned the ground-floor flat at Sehvikas Apartments in Patparganj into a museum. Gagan lives in Greater Noida.
Police suspect the role of someone known to the family in the crime.
“The thieves entered by sliding open the door at the rear of the flat with a wire. They took out the keys of the locker kept in one of the drawers and decamped with a miniature Padma Bhushan plaque and the jewellery. They did not touch anything else,” said Dharmendra Kumar, joint commissioner of police (New Delhi Range).
He added the original Padma Bhushan award presented to the author in 2002 were safe at the Greater Noida residence of his wife.
He was awarded the Jnanpith in 1999.
It was on the complaint of Gagan on Wednesday afternoon that a case was registered at Mandawali police station.
“She visits the flat once in a fortnight and reported the theft on Tuesday night,” said the officer. Police is questioning a servant employed by the writer’s wife to take care of the house.
Verma, who died in 2005 at the age of 76, is credited as being one of pioneers of the 'Nayi Kahani’ (new story) movement of Hindi literature.
He penned five novels, eight short-story collections and nine books of non fiction. His novels include Ve Din, (Those Days) and Antim Aranya (The Last Wilderness).