where no complaint was lodged despite so many valuables being plundered.” Many of the items, investigators said, were added to the list solely based on the thief’s confession. Among the few treasures that the family missed , but dismissed as being misplaced, was a diamond-encrusted gold crown. A case was finally registered last month. The domestic help and his accomplice are out on bail since they could initially be charged only for possessing stolen property.
In contrast to the Adikesavulu case, officers say many couples rush to the police station when a ring or bangle goes missing from the household. They invariably suspect their domestic employee. “Such incidents are increasing as a consequence of the growing disparity between those who have a lot and many who have nothing,” said Abdul Khadar, the police inspector investigating the Adikesavulu case. But, he said, this was the first case in 18 years in which “this family simply had no track of their valuables”.
The case illustrates the rising gap between India’s poor and very rich, the top few per cent of the population who possess over a third of the country’s wealth and assets. Naidu’s explanation for his family’s cluelessness about the large-scale looting only emphasises the inequity. “My mother keeps many boxes, some of which contain unused valuables which are rarely checked,” he said. “We have many homes and guest-houses and it is difficult to keep track.”