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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said it was a matter of shame that Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel medallion was stolen and that the state government might, if given a chance, try to retrieve it.
“The Nobel medallion was stolen along with other memorabilia. Now a replica has replaced it. This is a matter of shame for me. The CBI is investigating the matter and so far has had no success. If they can’t, then we might give it a try if given a chance. A lot of my emotions are attached to it,” she said during a visit to Shantiniketan. The chief minister was in Birbhum for a district administration meeting. She also met officials of the Visva-Bharati University, from where the medallion was stolen.
Tagore’s memorabilia, including the medallion, disappeared on March 25, 2004, from the university’s Rabindra Bhavan museum. Mamata, at the time, had held a demonstration and demanded a CBI probe.
The chief minister had been vocal about the theft on previous occasions as well. During her election campaign for the 2011 Assembly polls, she had visited Bolpur, where she had said that along with other cases such as the Sainbari murder case and the Kashipur massacre, the TMC government would also probe the Nobel heist, assuring of a probe and conviction of accused.
Five days after the theft, the CBI officially took over the case on March 30, 2004. After an unsuccessful attempt at recovery, it closed the case on August 30, 2007. However, under political pressure, the case was reopened on September 18, 2008. On August 23, 2009, the CBI, sent a letter to the former vice chancellor of the university, Rajat Kanta Roy, and closed the case owing to lack of clues.
The chief minister unveiled a slew of development projects for Birbhum, including a new IT hub, which is already in progress, a theme city Gitabitan, a housing complex at Prantik and a newly designed Tarapith area.
Apart from the under-construction IT hub, an MSME market would be built to sell produce of small and medium artisans where products of the well-known labels like Tantuja, Manjushree and Khadi would be available. The market would also host a Biswa Bangla outlet, she said.
A 129-acre land has been identified and granted to the Sriniketan-Santiniketan Development Authority (SSDA) for the development of theme city ‘Gitabitan’ in Bolpur, which would promote the state’s art and culture. A cluster of housing complexes would come up in the Prantik area to meet the growing demand for shelter by local people, she said, adding that work was in progress to re-design ‘Tarapith’.