It was not cash that burglars were after when they broke into the office of Justice Lodha in Delhi last month; a policeman handling the investigation has revealed to mid-day that “a large number of files concerning IPL” were stolen
New Delhi: In two successive break-ins, thieves have taken away a large chunk of “very sensitive papers” concerning investigations into Indian Premier League spot-fixing and betting currently being conducted by a retired chief justice.
Justice RM Lodha is heading a high-powered committee probing the spot-fixing scandal relating to the Indian Premier League. File pic
It is learnt that the thieves first came early this year, and again on August 19, 2015, to only steal the cricket files. “I find from the perusal of the premises that certain very sensitive papers concerning a high-powered Supreme Court Committee has gone missing.
A letter by Supreme Court advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, who is the lawyer for the committee probing the spot-fixing allegations, to the Vasant Kunj police. In it, he expresses concern over ‘very sensitive papers’ going missing
Almost nothing else has been taken on an immediate inspection and this is, therefore, very serious. I need an immediate investigation done so that the perpetrators may be questioned as to whose instance it was done,” Gopal Sankaranarayanan, advocate of the Supreme Court, wrote in a letter dated August 19, 2015.
The letter written to the police by Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, dated August 19, 2015
The thefts took place on August 18, 2015, at the office of former chief Justice RM Lodha, who is heading a high-powered committee empowered by the country’s apex court to probe the spot-fixing scandal relating to the Indian Premier League. Initially, policemen at the Vasant Vihar (North) Police Station, told reporters “some cash was missing”.
But the letter, now accepted as part of the First Information Report (FIR) submitted by the police, alters the claim. Incidentally, Retd Justice Lodha’s office is located at B9/6339 at Vasant Kunj (South Delhi) which is also the residence of Sankaranarayanan. Police probing the case said the investigation is on.
“A large number of files concerning IPL were taken away by the thieves. We are currently interrogating the local guards,” sub-inspector Manish Kumar, who is handling the investigation, said. Kumar said the police had initially planned to take the help of CCTV footage but found its quality very poor. Hence, it was dropped from the list of probe.
What is intriguing is the fact that Sankaranarayanan had earlier asked for special protection from the local police after the first theft had taken place. But it was not given, and the thieves made another attempt. “I had on the last occasion also asked for enquiries to be conducted of the colony guards including the one on duty in front of the flat.
Clearly, this has not been done and it has emboldened the thieves to boldly break the two front doors, and put lights and fans on in the wee hours knowing that the guard will do nothing,” wrote Sankaranarayanan. The FIR — the first report said cash lost — says “zero” in the section titled “Total Value of Property Stolen”.