On June 26, a very important hearing is coming up at the Bolpur additional chief judicial magistrate’s court. For the umpteenth time, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will have to explain why it is reluctant to reopen (make that re-reopen) the 'Case of the Missing Medal', in answer to a petition filed by Visva Bharati asking for further investigation.
On March 24, 2004, Rabindranath Tagore's Nobel Prize for Literature medal, along with 50-odd artefacts, was stolen from Rabindra Bhavan (now the most heavily guarded building on the Visva Bharati campus). Despite intensive investigations, the medal has remained untraced. Faced with a blank wall, the CBI gave the term 'open-and-shut case' a new meaning by closing its investigation in September 2007, reopening it in September 2008 (apparently citing "vital clues"), and closing it again in late 2009.
"We have always insisted that the investigation should continue," says Visva Bharati Deputy Registrar Amitava Choudhury. "And we asked the Nobel Committee in Sweden for a replica of the medal, which they have sent us and which is now on display." Evidently, like the other Bengali urban legend of Netaji Subhas Bose returning home anytime now, the belief is that Tagore's real Nobel medal will turn up very soon.
Last month, CBI chief Ashwani Kumar told reporters in Kolkata that the bureau was willing to reopen the case if any leads came its way. "We have closed the case. But give us a lead if you have any information. We will reopen it," he had said in April. Visva Bharati is looking for every opportunity to hold him to his word. Till then, we live in hope eternal.