Srinagar: The High Court has directed personal appearance of the investigating officer of a case regarding the theft of a copy of the Holy Quran, which bears the seal of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, from the Shri Pratap Singh (SPS) Museum in 2003.
The direction by a division bench comprising Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey came after submissions by SSP crime branch Shahid Mehraj and additional SP Aftab Ahmad Mir that the investigation was conducted by one Maqsood Beigh who is at present posted with the Human Rights Commission. The Crime branch has concluded the investigation as “untraced.”
“Maqsood Beigh to remain present on next date,” the court and posted the case June 3.
“Meanwhile, registry to send for entire record of case FIR no. 106/2003 police station from the court of forest magistrate,” the court added.
The forest magistrate had accepted the police closure report on 10 December 2013.
The court also exempted personal appearance of Shahid Mehraj and additional SP Aftab Ahmad Mir till further orders.
The High Court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by a Srinagar based social organisation, Valley Citizen’s Council, seeking directions for the protection and conservation of artifacts, monuments and excavation sites in Kashmir besides directions to find the missing Quran.
Aurangzeb, the sixth Mughal Emperor, ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent during his reign that lasted for 49 years from 1658 until his death in 1707.
The PIL was filed in 2008 and judicial intervention has already led to retrieval of 31 copper and silver coins, a gun and other artifacts from the Research Wing of the SPS libraries, which were gifted to Shimla Museum in 1973.
The other artifacts include a Persian manuscript, Mughazi-ul-Nabi by Sheikh Yaqoob Sarfi (RA), a 19th century Sharda manuscript, Panchratna by Krishna Pandit and an 18th century painting by Swachanda Bhairva.
The Kashmir University, through Director Central Asian Museum, also handed over 209 objects which were transferred to the varsity on August 25, 1980 from SPS Museum.