Police in the Shivamogga district of Karnataka have cracked the case of the November 23 theft of two Padma awards of renowned Kannada poet Kuvempu from a museum and memorial Kavishaila created at the ancestral home of the poet in Kuppalli near Shivamogga with the arrest of three persons including a worker at the museum.
The arrested persons have been identified as Revana Siddappa alias Kayakada Revanna, 56 of Turachaghatta village in Davanagere district, Anjanappa, 45, an attender at the Kuvempu Pratishthana museum and Prakash, 48 of Mandarahalli, a receiver of stolen property.
Kuvempu is the pen name of Kuppalli Venkatappa Puttappa, a novelist, poet, playwright, critic and thinker. He was conferred with the Padma Bhushan award in 1958 and Padma Vibhushan in 1988. He is the second ‘Rashtrakavi’ of Kannada. He died in 1994 and the Rashtrakavi Kuvempu Trust developed his birthplace as Kavishaila which is a major attraction for literature students in the state.
Revanna the main culprit was arrested on Thursday and based on his information two others were arrested on Friday. The police investigation has found that Revanna a habitual offender entered the Kuvempu memorial through the roof after removing the tiles on the roof. He was provided information on accessing the memorial at night by the museum’s attender Anjanappa. Police said Revanna is involved in more than 13 theft cases – most of them in temples.
On Monday night Revanna first entered the book keeping room at the memorial and stole Rs 1000 from the cash counter before moving to the museum where Kuvempu’s medals were on display. The thief grabbed the poet’s Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards along with medals conferred by the Mysore University and Mangalore University.
Although he tried to damage six CCTV cameras and a power box in the museum his antics were caught on camera and the widely publicized images helped the police pick up leads for the arrest of Revanna.
“We have recovered the two medals that were conferred on the poet by the Mysore University and Mangalore University but are yet to recover the stolen Padma awards. We are trying to find out what the thieves did with the Padma awards,” Shivamogga police additional SP Vishnuvardhana told The Indian Express.
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