Meteorites go missing from Egmore museum | Egmore museum | | Indian Express
Meteorites go missing from Egmore museum | Egmore museum | | Indian Express.
CHENNAI: Metorites or space rocks, which were on public display for more than 40 years at the Government museum in Egmore, have gone missing.
The five pieces of meteorites which went missing were kept in a glass display box in the right corner of the inverted T-shaped Geology gallery.
Of them, three were stony meteorites brought from Madurai and Cochin, while the other two were iron meteorites from Kerala.
Dr T S Sridhar, Principal Secretary and Commissioner of Archaeology and Commissioner of Museums, Egmore, who initially maintained silence on the issue, later admitted to the incident.
At an exhibition on wildlife crimes, he said, “Only yesterday evening it was brought to our notice by the gallery guards. But we suspect it should have gone missing during the weekend when there was a heavy inflow of tourists.” Tulsi Bridha,curator of the Geology Gallery, said, “The glass was not broken. The person who stole the meteorites had tampered the key hole and opened it.” About the security measures in place, the Commissioner of Museums said, “The museum has 48 galleries, each under the control of the respective curators, gallery guards and duty officers. Every gallery has a CCTV.” Reacting to a suggestion that CCTV footages could help in nabbing the culprit, the curator said, “As some renovation work is on,the cable to the CCTV on the geology gallery was cut. Besides, the display box is out of reach of the CCTV.” Sridhar said that the meteorites were purely for educational and research purposes and ruled out the possibility of a theft for gain. It may be noted that there are several online portals selling meteorites in jewellery and gift form. Selvamani, assistant director of the museum, who has been appointed as the investigating officer, is conducting an internal inquiry.