The Supreme Court has been moved in the case of a missing museum official who was a whistleblower in the case relating to misuse of public funds, mismanagement and disappearance of artifacts in a Kolkata Museum.Sunil Kumar Upadhyay, a Conservation officer at the Indian Museum in Kolkata, has been missing for about a month, but the Kolkata Police is clueless about his whereabouts. Upadhyay’s relative has filed a habeas corpus petition requesting an inter-state investigation to trace him. Upadhyay went missing shortly after he “pointed out irregularities in the management of the Indian Museum.”
Mr. Upadhyay (35), a Class-1 officer, was last seen on July 3 evening when he went out of his Sultan Alam Road residence for a walk. Upadhyay was allegedly unhappy about the happenings in the museum and had left his mobile phone at home before going missing on July 3. He is an alumnus of Delhi University.
“It is an open secret now that he had raised his voice against corruption and irregularities prevailing in Indian museum for which he has paid a price,” said Anirudh sharma, the petitioner’s advocate. The petition alleges that Mr. Upadhyay’s disappearance has links to “objectionable activities taking place in the Indian Museum, Kolkata, like the Tagore fake paintings scam.”
The petition has made the West Bengal, Union of India, Ministry of Culture and the Central Bureau of Investigation parties in the case. It wants the Supreme Court to direct the West Bengal Government and the Centre to produce Mr. Upadhyay before the court, saying he may be in peril. The petition also seeks a CBI probe into the role of the local mafia dealing in rare artefacts and museum staff in the disappearance.
“Due to his honest credential, pressure was being put on Mr. Upadhyay to withdraw from the race of Deputy Director of the Indian Museum. His appointment would have created a lot of trouble for some people,” the petition said.
Upadhyay was recently asked by the Union culture ministry to lead India's efforts to document Swami Vivekananda's speech in Chicago on his 150th birth anniversary and therefore he visited Chicago regularly.