Jackfruit mystery: Hungry thieves must have cooked and eaten, says investigating officer

Police were on Friday questioning the MP’s servants — a gardener, security guards and domestic help — living in the quarters not far from the scene of the crime.

Written by Santosh Singh , Ananya Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Updated: June 21, 2014 9:58 am
Thieves were hungry so they ate the jackfruit, said the investigating officer. Thieves were hungry so they ate the jackfruit, said the investigating officer. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

A day after Delhi Police launched a manhunt for kathal thieves who struck in the garden of JD(U) MP Mahendra Prasad, the fate of the missing fruit remained unknown, and investigators feared the worst.

“They must have been cooked and eaten,” said an officer investigating the theft. “The two jackfruit weighed 10 kg each,” he said, giving details. The thieves must have been hungry, he guessed.

Among the clues the police have picked up so far is the “skid mark of a shoe on the newly painted wall” of the MP’s 4 Tughlaq Road bungalow, and a few fingerprints, the officer said.

Police were on Friday questioning the MP’s servants — a gardener, security guards and domestic help — living in the quarters not far from the scene of the crime.

A bewildered security guard described the daylong excitement at the MP’s bungalow, which has been swarmed by television crews since The Indian Express broke the story on Friday morning.

“They have been here since morning. TV reporters are camping outside the backyard wall, excitedly taking pictures of the jackfruit tree and the footprint on the wall. I don’t know why they are doing it,” he said.

“Mediawale subah se aake baithe hue hain. Subah se 1,000 call attend kar chuka hoon. Yeh kathal chori kaisi khabar hai?”
Police registered a case against unknown accused on Thursday after the MP’s personal assistant filed a complaint. The FIR read, “Safdarjung Lane kothi number 4 ke andar lage kathal ke ped par total 9 kathal lage hue the. 17 aur 18 ki raat mein unmein se do kathal kisi agyat vyakti ne chori kar liye hain. Kripya kanooni karyawahi ki jaye.”

(“There were nine jackfruit on the tree, two of which were stolen by an unknown person in the intervening night of the 17th and 18th. Please register a case.”)

Police said they were initially not told that the “theft” at the MP’s house was of jackfruit. “We rushed to the spot thinking that someone had broken into the MP’s house. All senior officers were informed. We realised what had been stolen only after reaching the spot. We then asked them to gave a written complaint,” an officer said.

JD(U) MP Prasad is currently in his second term in the Rajya Sabha, having earlier represented the RJD and Congress in the House. A medicine baron from Jehanabad, he is known as “King Mahendra”, and is believed to be the “purse” for any political party he represents.

An upper caste Bhumihar, Prasad is said to be in politics as a matter of social status. He could not be contacted for a comment.

On Friday, as the crime investigation team, a team from the fingerprints bureau, and the local police toiled to crack the Mystery of the Missing Jackfruit, in a local market not far from the scene of the crime sat a vegetable seller with a basket of the MP’s favourite fruit, forlornly fanning himself in the afternoon sun.

The price of his large, spiky wares: Only Rs 40 per kg. It’s a steal, he said.

(With Santosh Singh in Patna)

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  1. S
    S K
    Jun 21, 2014 at 5:12 am
    Delhi Police is really useless-they could not recover even two jackfruits !! Poor chaps-they wasted time on as precious a thing as jackfruit.
    1. A
      Afzal Ansari
      Jun 21, 2014 at 2:21 am
      The two missing jackfruits have reincarnated as Nitish and Laloo. Just check the DNAs of these two and other jackfruits to confirm.
      1. B
        Jun 21, 2014 at 2:40 am
        This is how our MPs ensure the efficient use of our police with the cooperation of the top br!
        1. D
          Jun 21, 2014 at 10:38 am
          Colossal waste of precious government security system meant to maintain law and order in the capital ..stead police may consider reimbursing the MP the cost of two 'kathals' ...which will decidedly much cheaper than using police to look for the thieve/thieves........
          1. G
            Jun 21, 2014 at 1:31 pm
            for 800 rupees, MP forces cops to divert resources.achhe din aa e?
            1. H
              Haridas Rao
              Jun 21, 2014 at 12:18 am
              Possible explanations -1ter-state gang of of kathal thieves2.Black marketeers increasing their d of kathal3.Gourmets & gourmands who go round stealing kathal to make veg. kababs4.Jealous fellow kathal growers5.Any other irrational,absurd and ridiculous reason.
              1. K
                Kishori Lall
                Jun 21, 2014 at 12:53 am
                This is publicity stunt. Now how police is behaving on this use less case but ignore if there in real crime case. The MP should fined for wasting the police time. So called media behavior is Disgusting too.
                1. M
                  madhukar nikam
                  Jun 21, 2014 at 5:00 am
                  The two jackfruits were given in as dowry to Laloo Prasad for his support to JDU
                  1. P
                    Jun 21, 2014 at 4:39 am
                    its shameful on the politician to use police crime branch to investigate the theft of a fruit. Its Indian culture, if something edible or food is stolen, we must think, we have fed someone very hungry and wish for him good luck so that he never goes hungry again. I think police stop this investigation and better concentrate on some serious cases dusting on their tables.
                    1. R
                      Jun 21, 2014 at 7:02 am
                      Since when did a jackfruit theft became a national headline!
                      1. R
                        Ramasubramani Hariharaiyer
                        Jun 21, 2014 at 4:44 am
                        The entire world will laugh ,if this case is reported.Obviously the J.D(U) M.P,the print and visual media and the police are not having any worthwhile work other than this trifle matter.
                        1. R
                          Jun 21, 2014 at 2:26 am
                          A very important event to waste police time on. Who dares steal a couple of fruits from a politician? Don't they know common persons are not allowed to steal only .....
                          1. $
                            Jun 21, 2014 at 1:44 pm
                            Dear Hon'ble Mahendra Prasadji, the big Lutyens bunglow you occupy does not belong to you....that jackfruit tree was not planted by you either respected sir. If some hungry man or child has filled his stomach by picking nature's gift he has not committed a crime. You have committed a worse sin on the citizens of Delhi by wasting the time of so many policemen chasing a jackfruit that belongs to the tree and not you. Shame on you for calling yourself a representative of the people. Shame on you and your small mindedness. By the way the jackfruit tasted ripe and juicy. Burp!
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