Museum employees arrested for stealing former PM Nehru’s dagger

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 28, 2016 14:06 IST
The dagger was put in a glass in frame in the gift gallery, which is a few steps from the bedroom where former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru breathed his last on May 27, 1964. (Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)

Delhi Police have arrested two employees of Nehru Memorial Museum & Library for stealing a dagger, which was gifted to former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru by Saudi Arabia.

Ramchander (26) and Sandeep (25), sanitation workers in the museum, were arrested on Wednesday by the Crime Branch after they confessed to the crime and police recovered the dagger from their home in Ferozshah Kotla.

They told police they were in dire need of money to clear their debts during questioning. They thought that the dagger, made of a shiny metal, was pure gold and would fetch them a good price.

The two men carried out a recce of the area for a few weeks before striking on Monday. After hiding the dagger, they returned to their job to avoid suspicion, police said.

“They planned the theft for a Monday as the museum is closed for visitors. They counted the number of security guards in the area and carefully noted down timings of when they are not around. On Monday, they came to clean the area when no one was around. They broke the casket, slid the dagger in their pocket and fled,” a senior police officer said.

The dagger was gifted to Nehru on his visit to Saudi Arabia back in the 1950s.

The incident came to the fore on Monday evening when a private security guard found the glass casket broken and the dagger missing while taking a round in the museum. The PCR call was made a police team including joint commissioner (New Delhi range) visited the spot. A case of theft was registered at Chankyapuri police station and an investigation was launched.

Sources said there was no CCTV camera inside the museum and the one outside was not functional, so the investigators could not get any clue.

“Since no CCTV footage was available, we accessed details of all the employees on and off duty in the museum. The employees whose statements could not be corroborated were zeroed down and their movements were mapped,” an investigator told HT.

“With the help of technical surveillance, we identified the two safai karamcharis and then detained them for questioning. During questioning, they broke down and confessed to have stolen the dagger thinking it is made of gold to pay their debts,” he added.

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