MANGALORE: Mangalore City Police have released the sketch of a suspect in the theft of the precious antiques from Siddantha Bhavan in Guru Basadi complex at Moodbidri, 40km from here. This sketch has been sent to heads of all policing units in the state as well as to neighbouring states. Police authorities and the Jain community leaders feel that the thief could be from outside the state.
City police chief Manish Kharbikar told TOI that while police investigations are progressing on various lines, they have released sketch of an unidentified person who was seen roaming around in Moodbidri in the run up to the theft. “We believe he could be involved in the theft, and the sketch based on inputs from people is an effort at trying to gain leads on the possible accused,” Manish said, adding that the sketch is officially that of a “suspect”.
The city police in the interim have posted armed guards at Siddantha Bhavan as a security measure. “The Jain community is thinking about shifting the remaining idols from the Bhavan to a bank locker,” Manish said, adding that the community could take a decision once Swastishree Charukeerthi Panditacharayavarya Bhattaraka swamiji of Jain Mutt, Moobdidri, returns from his overseas trip. “The security will be in place till such time,” he said.
Asked if the CCTV footage that captured the act of the thief is aiding investigations, Manish said, “The thief had concealed his identity wearing a monkey cap, and taken care to wear hand gloves as well.” In a related development, Inspector-General Police (Western Range) Pratap Reddy has committed to provide all available resources from policing units in the range to ensure that the case is detected post-haste, sources in the department said.
The basadi authorities completed the task of sealing the windows of the bhavan, a process that was started on Saturday itself. The thief had gained entry inside the bhavan by cutting open the window grill and breaking open glass on the window pane. Minister for fisheries K Abhayachandra Jain, who is monitoring the investigations, told TOI that one has to give police time. “We have to be positive that they will detect the case,” he said.