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Property dealers held with Qurans

Three property dealers have been arrested from the Capital on Saturday while they were trying to sell two sets of the Holy Quran dating to the Mughal period, reports Vijaita Singh.

delhi Updated: Mar 09, 2008 01:22 IST
Vijaita Singh
Vijaita Singh
Hindustan Times

Three property dealers were arrested from the Capital on Saturday while they were trying to sell two sets of the Holy Quran dating to the Mughal period. The rare books, written in Arabic, are inscribed in gold. Though the exact source of the books is yet to be traced, police said they were stolen from either Haryana or Rajasthan.

The value of the books is estimated to be over Rs 100 crore. Oblivious of the value of the books, the accused were trying to sell it for Rs 3.5 crore.

The officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) told the police that the books, known as ‘Quran Madina’, were written in Arabic.

ASI officials said the books belong to Shah Jahan’s period and if sold in West Asia could fetch anywhere above Rs 100 crores.

Police said the three arrested men –– Gurdeep Singh (48), Sanjay Nathani (41) and Prasanjit Biswas (33) –– deal in property and finance and are residents of Delhi. Police said the accused were looking for intermediaries in Delhi, as they wanted to sell it in West Asia.

”We are trying to find out the source of the books. These men were in unauthorised possession of the holy books and we do not rule out that they might have been stolen,” said Satyendra Garg, additional commissioner of police (Crime).

The two holy books contain 168 and 122 pages and the calligraphy has been inscribed in gold. The three men were arrested from a restaurant near Hazrat Nizammudin railway station where they had gone to strike a deal. “The policemen who were acting as decoy customers bargained and brought down the amount to Rs 3.5 crore. The accused were carrying photographs of the holy books. We also recovered a laptop from their possession,” said the officer.

Police have also seized two cars –– an Innova and a Santro –– from the accused. Police said the three men have not been arrested earlier.

The prime accused, Gurdeep Singh, who lives in Green Park, was tapping his sources to find a suitable buyer for the books.

“The books are so old and rare that their pages have turned brittle,” said the officer. Police are not ruling out that the books might have been stolen from a museum.

The accused were booked under section 411 (receiving stolen property) and other sections of the Antiquity and Art Treasures Act.