Shimla’s missing antique bell: 7 years on, CBI conducts narco test

The antique bell weighing 90 kg went missing from the historic Viceregal lodge in 2010. CBI has already announced a 1-lakh reward for the informer

india Updated: Jul 12, 2017 20:16 IST
Gaurav Bisht
Gaurav Bisht
Hindustan Times, Shimla
Indian Institute of Advanced Studies,Shimla,antique bell
The antique bell was stolen from Viceregal lodge, in Shimla, seven years ago.(HT File Photo)

Seven years after an antique bell gifted to Lord Irwin was stolen from Shimla’s majestic Viceregal lodge, the Central Bureau of Investigation is now conducting a narco test of security personnel at the Indian Institute of Advanced studies housed in the British era building.

It was in 2010 that the antique bell made of eight metal alloys weighing 30 kgs went missing from the reception. The bell was tied to a 60-kg wooden plank placed next to the reception of the building. The theft had raised concerns not only among the management of the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), but also among antique lovers and visitors who would often get themselves photographed with the iconic bell.

The bell was gifted to then Indian Viceroy Lord Irwin by the King of Nepal in 1930. “The CBI has taken a security guard from IIAS for narco test to Delhi,” Prem Chand, officiating secretary of the IIAS told the Hindustan Times. Unable to gather any vital clues about the stolen bell, the CBI had earlier this year announced a 1-lakh reward for anyone providing any leads about the theft. This had raised the hackles of Shimlaites since the prestigious institute enjoys a two-tier security.

  • Marquess of Dufferin: 1884-88
  • Marquess of Landsdowne: 1888-94
  • Earl of Elgin: 1894-99
  • Marquess Curzon: 1899-1904 and 1904-05
  • Earl of Minto: 1905-10
  • Lord Hardinge of Penshurst: 1910-16
  • Viscount Chelmsford: 1916-21
  • Marquess of Reading: 1921-26
  • Lord Irwin, Earl of Halifax: 1926-31
  • Marquess of Willingdon: 1931-36
  • Marquess of Linlithgow: 1936-43
  • Earl Wavell: 1943-47
  • Earl Mountbatten: April to August 1947

The bell was stolen on October 22, 2010 . The police investigations had then suspected that it could not have been possible for thieves to take away the bell without a vehicle. The police probed the case for five years but to no avail. Finally, in 2013 it prepared a report saying the bell remained “untraced.”

Subsequently, IIAS approached the high court, which ordered a CBI probe into the case.

Built in Jacobethan style in 1888 during the regime of Lord Dufferin, the antique building that witnessed scores of historical moments is facing structural distress.

The Viceregal Lodge remained the summer residence of the British Viceroys during the Raj. Renamed as Rashtrapati Niwas after Independence, it was on October 20, 1964, that the then President of India S Radhakrishnan inaugurated the institute afresh.

First Published: Jul 12, 2017 18:23 IST