Missing Museum Official: Govt says no record he was a whistleblower

Exhibits are the Indian Museum

The government of India said it has no official records to suggest that Sunil Upadhyay, the Indian Museum official whose mysterious and sudden disappearance in 2014 created a sensation, was a whistleblower.

“There are no office records to indicate that Dr. Sunil Upadhyay acted as a whistle blower on any issue relating to theft and pilferage from museum,” said culture minister Mahesh Sharma today in Parliament.

Sharma was responding to a question from Jose Mani, an opposition MP from Kerala, about what action the government has taken to track down the missing whistleblower.

Upadhyay was working as a preservation officer in Kolkata’s Indian Museum when he disappeared mysteriously on July 3, 2014.

In August, the case was referred to the Central Bureau of Investigation. But the CBI has not been able to make much progress in the case in the last two-and-a-half years.

A case was also filed in 2014 in the Supreme Court seeking that he should be produced before the courts.

On asked what action the government took to trace the official, Sharma said a letters were sent in September and November 2014 to the CBI requesting it to expedite the matter.

On the fateful day, Upadhyay left home at around 6 pm to the Lake area in south Kolkata for a walk, never to be heard from again.

It was widely reported that his disappearance was linked to ‘irregularities’ that the 35-year-old was trying to expose at the Indian Museum.

The Indian Museum was founded in 1814 and is considered the largest museum in India. It contains a priceless collection of antiques, armor, ornaments, fossils, skeletons, mummies, and paintings.

The petition in the Supreme Court, filed by one of Upadhaya’s relatives, quoted reports by the central auditor that it said “have unequivocally” observed significant discrepancies in the number of antiquities reportedly available in the Indian Museum.