HYDERABAD ~ If you find a treasure, then it’s not always a good thing. Especially if it is in someone else’s home. Five men have been arrested in Hyderabad for trying to sell a trove worth crores that didn’t belong to them.
In October, Kandukuri Satish Gupta, who had inherited an over 50-year-old building in the Old City, issued a contract to demolish and rebuild it. The two contractors—Mohammad Rafeeq and Mohammed Abdul Bari—in turn hired three labourers for the work. While breaking the walls with sledgehammers, they discovered, hidden inside a wall, coins of gold and silver besides bracelets, rings and ornamental stones. Instead of informing the owners and government, they extracted the treasure at night, and returned to work as usual the next day.
On 8 December, when they tried to sell a part of it, the police got a tip-off and arrested them. On questioning, they confessed to how they found it. The police have recovered almost the entire treasure, except some gold that had been sold in Mumbai. The coins belong to the Mughal, Tipu Sultan and Nizam of Hyderabad eras. The five have also been charged with Section 20 of the Indian Treasure Trove Act, 1878, for concealing the find from the government.
Anurag Sharma, police commissioner of Hyderabad, said there was 1.7 kg of gold coins and jewellery and 4.2 kg of silver ornaments. He estimates its present value at a figure between Rs 5 and 7 crore. It’s still a mystery how the treasure got there. During the inquiry, the police found that the house was inherited by Gupta from his late grandfather, Kandukuri Vishwanath, who in turn had purchased it 56 years ago from two brothers Prem and Anand Raj. But there is also another claim. Gupta says his grandfather was a well-known moneylender to whom people mortgaged gold and jewels. Since both grandparents had died early, nobody had any clue that such a chest was hidden within a wall.▪