Pune Crime: Burglars spare literary works of P L Deshpande in Posh Pune locality

Updated: Dec 20, 2017, 12:16 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

A trove of invaluable books, letters and handwritten manuscripts of literary doyen P L Deshpande survives unscathed as masked burglars strike his house in posh Pune locality

Had he been alive, the incident would have fired up the imagination of writer P L Deshpande, who enjoyed an iconic status among Marathi readers. He may have written a piece, infused with his crackling sense of humour, about why burglars should keep away from the writer's house because they are likely to return empty-handed, except for a tip or two about plagiarism.

P L Deshpande
P L Deshpande

Unidentified burglars targeted the late writer's two flats in the city in the wee hours yesterday, but according to Deshpande's relatives, nothing went missing. Burglars had targeted the same flats, which are unoccupied since his wife's death, in 2012 too. Deshpande, popularly known as 'Pu La', owned two flats at Malati Madhav Apartment on Bhandarkar Road. The burglars also entered two other locked flats on Monday morning. Residents alleged that they informed police about the break-in on the same day, but no action was taken. It was only yesterday, when Deshpande's relatives arrived from Mumbai, that a complaint was registered.

Not the first time
Dinesh Thakur, Deshpande's nephew, said, "During the previous break-in, burglars had broken the locks of cupboards. After that the cupboards were left unlocked. This time the burglars seemed to have searched through the flat for valuables but apparently didn't find anything worth taking." "There were books and handwritten letters of Pu La. They are a treasure for us, but for burglars, they were probably worthless," he said. DCP (Zone I) Basavraj Teli said, "We will maintain a visitors' register at the apartment. We have asked senior officers of Deccan police to make at least one round of the building every day." Asked about residents' allegation about delay in the registration of FIR, the DCP said, "I haven't received any such complaint. If a complaint comes to me, I will verify it."

Police says
Senior Police Inspector Ajay Kadam, of Deccan Gymkhana police, said, "From the CCTV camera, we have learnt that five robbers came in a car, wearing masks. The robbery took place despite the presence of a watchman."

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Pune's pride
Deshpande, a recipient of Padma Bhushan, was a humour writer, playwright, actor, music composer, singer and director. Apart from penning several best-sellers, he acted in dozens of films, some of which he directed. He spent the last years of his life in Pune, where he died on June 12, 2000. His wife Sunita Deshpande passed away in 2009. The couple were also famous for their extensive philanthropy.

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