It couldn’t have augured worse than this for the Wardha-based Sevagram Ashram. The state CID, which has been investigating into the case of missing spectacles of Mahatma Gandhi in November 2010, has reached a conclusion that may sound jarring for many. The Mahatma’s glasses weren’t missing but stolen and it was the job of an insider.
"We have interrogated around 30-40 ashram inmates during the course of our investigations. We have come to conclusion that the spectacles were stolen by an insider. However, no arrests have been made so far," said SP (CID) Yashavi Yadav.
The news of Gandhi’s spectacles missing from the Ashram sent shockwaves across the nation. Though the incident happened in November last year, it came to light in February this year. But the Ashram officials revealed it only in June this year and later lodged a formal complaint with the Wardha police.
Given the seriousness of the matter, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan ordered a CID probe. Despite three months of investigation, the state CID could not nail the accused. It was said that police initially decided to opt for narco-analysis of the inmates. But this was not possible in the wake of Supreme Court termed forcible narco-analysis, polygraph or brain-mapping tests unconstitutional. "If anyone volunteers for narco or brain-mapping test, the investigating agency may proceed accordingly. However, in this case, no one volunteered for a such test," Yadav said.
"I am hopeful that the accused would be arrested soon," he said.
Gandhi came to Sevagram in Wardha district, some 80 kms from here in 1936 and settled at the Ashram that receives around three lakh visitors every year. The Ashram had a crucial role in Gandhi’s quest for freedom. Gandhi left the Ashram in 1946 during the Noakhali riot and did not return.
The Ashram set up a museum of Gandhi’s belongings on the premises. The museum displayed his personal belongings, including his spectacles and his spinning wheel. Of these, the spectacles went missing.