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Indian cops deploy divers for Buddha

Calcutta, India - Seven days after a fifth century, sandstone Buddha head was stolen from the Archaeological Long gallery of the Indian Museum, city police have hit upon what it should have done moments after the discovery of the theft.

On Thursday, they engaged divers to search the museum pond behind the Geological Survey of India building. But without any positive result.

"The divers stopped just short of emptying the pond of water, but couldn’t come up with anything of value," said a witness.

"The divers were from Physical Association in Ahiritola. We decided to search the pond last night and contacted the organisation," said a detective department officer.

The divers worked for over an hour in the morning. "They searched thoroughly, from the middle of the pond to the corners. But nothing was found," said Peeyush Pandey, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

Engaging divers so many days after the theft triggered controversy among the investigating agencies.

"It is not clear why the city police took so long to decide to search the pond. Even if the culprits had kept the head under water, they must have taken it away by now. The pond should have been searched the day after the theft was detected," said an officer of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which was handed over the charge of investigation two days ago.

Sleuths of the detective department agreed. "We should have carried out the search immediately after the theft was noticed. Officers who investigated the case should not have reacted so late," said a senior officer of city police.

The CBI did not take over the case diary of the theft on Thursday.

"They will take over within a day or two. However, they are in touch and are collecting information from us," said another officer of the detective department.

The CBI sleuths held a series of meetings with senior officers of the city police on Thursday.

"We are chalking out the course of our investigation. Preliminary work has already been done and it has been decided what aspects will get priority during the course of our probe," said a CBI official.

"The Interpol is yet to be informed. We will contact them after completing the ground-level work," he added.

Officers of detective department said that they were assisting the CBI in the case. [TELEGRAPH, INDIA]

Related story: Indian police continue search for missing Buddha head

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