The Crime Branch on Thursday dispatched a team to Mumbai for arresting people involved in the theft of Chandigarh heritage furniture designed by French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret stolen from the psychology department of Panjab University.
Police sources said the team was dispatched following the disclosure of carpenter Sarfraz, a resident of Baltana, who was arrested last Saturday.
Twenty chairs out of 48 stolen were recovered from him. Further, 15 chairs were recovered from his two accomplices — a woman, Usha, alias Sweety, and Naresh Mittal. Police sources said Sarfraz has revealed names and exact locations of people hiding in Mumbai, who used to receive the supply of stolen furniture from Sarfraz in Chandigarh and Panchkula.
Sources said that role of certain employees of PU is also under the scanner. It is for the first time when a team of Chandigarh Police was dispatched to Mumbai for arresting the people involved in the heritage furniture theft. In all earlier reported cases, although the police managed to establish Mumbai link but failed to make any headway.
Sources said that senior administration officials are taking keen interest in the investigation of theft case. The police investigation has also established that the local organised gang, headed by carpenter Sarfraz who has been arrested for the theft of 48 heritage chairs from Panjab University, is also involved in the theft of heritage furniture from Hisar district in Haryana and some parts of Punjab.
Sources in the crime branch said that heritage furniture dating back to the 17th century was stolen in these two states as well. This fact came to light during the interrogation of Sarfraz. However, sources said, the focus of Chandigarh Police is on UT heritage items.
In February 2016, the Directorate of Revenue of Intelligence (DRI) had arrested a US-based Indian born businessman, Vijay Nanda, for smuggling furniture designed by French architect Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, all related to Chandigarh, out of the country. Nanda was arrested in Mumbai. The DRI investigation had revealed Nanda’s close links with a PCS officer, who was once posted as director of Chandigarh Museum from 2007 to 2011.
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