Burglars broke into the home of the late Marathi writer Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, popularly known as PuLa in the state, in the wee hours yesterday, only to go back empty handed.
The burglars apparently found nothing of value, and did not seem interested in the books and photographs of the much-loved litterateur in the locked flat at Malti-Madhav Society off Bhandarkar Road.
It seems the burglars were simply not aware whose home they were targeting, and while looking for jewellery or cash, scattered the books and photographs of PuLa on the floor.
A relative of PuLa, Ashwin Lokare, who resides in the next flat, said: “I think the burglars were non-Marathi and had no idea whose house they were targeting.”
Lokare said if the burglars had been Maharashtrians, they would have understood the value of the books they found in the flat. According to information given by the Deccan Gymkhana police station, some unidentified people seemed to have entered the society premises from the rear of the apartment by breaking an iron chain on a gate.
“As per the information given by the security guard and the residents of the society, the burglars came to the apartment in an SUV, kept the vehicle on and then entered the society premises from the rear side of the apartment by breaking the iron chain,” Senior Police Inspector Manohar Joshi from the Deccan Police station said. “The burglars first locked the other flats from outside and then entered the flat which was belonging to PuLa by breaking open the latch of the main door.”
He added that it looked like nothing was stolen from the flat as there were only books and photographs inside the flat. “In an attempt to find cash and gold valuables, the burglars opened the iron cupboards which were in the bedroom and scattered Deshpande’s books and photographs on the floor,” Joshi said.
The security guard of the society, Ashok Dodake, said: “The night security guard was on leave and there was no other security guard deployed. The burglars targeted Deshpande’s flat as it was locked and all the lights were off.”
He said that the incident came to light when a resident of the society, Ramchandra Joshi, saw the lock of Deshpande’s flat open and immediately informed Lokre.
“Later, they opened the door and checked the flat from inside and came to know that some people had burgled the house as the books and photographs were seen scattered on the floor,” he said.
Lokare said that the burglars first locked the other flats from outside and then targeted PuLa’s flat. “After the incident came to light, I approached the Deccan Gymkhana police station and lodged a complaint,” Lokare said. The Deccan police registered a case against unidentified house burglars.
No one at home
PuLa Deshpande and his wife Sunita used to live in the flat at Malti-Madhav Society from 1996 to 2000. On June 12, 2000, PuLa passed away. After the death of PuLa, Sunita Deshpande continued living in the same flat till her death in 2009.