Lady Chandu Lal’s ring

by R.K. Kaushik

Only two Indians became Governors during British rule. The first was Lord Satinder Pal Sinha, who became the Governor of Bihar in 1915, and the other was Sir Chandu Lal Madhav Lal Trivedi, who became the Governor of Orissa in January, 1946. He was an ICS officer of the 1909 batch of the UP (United Provinces) cadre. He took over as Governor of Punjab on August 15, 1947.

He visited Amritsar after 3-4 days and along with his wife stayed in the circuit house. Sardar Bahadur Narinder Singh was the Deputy Commissioner of Amritsar and Mr A.K. Kaul was the Superintendent of Police.

Next morning Lady Chandu Lal noticed that her diamond ring was missing. Immediately, the DC and the SP were informed. Both rushed to the circuit house in a perplexed state. There was confusion — nay amazement — among the officials as to who had the audacity to steal the Lady Governor’s costly ring.

The Governor was livid and did not hesitate to show his anger at the loose arrangements for him and his wife’s stay. Mr Kaul deputed Inspector Imtiaz Ali, in charge of the detective wing, to investigate the case. Sir Chandu Lal went back to Shimla and a week passed without any success.

Ultimately, the SP and the Detective Inspector went to the shop in Delhi from where Lady Chandu Lal had purchased the ring. They bought an exactly similar diamond ring with their own money and to cover up their action, arrested the head sweeper of Municipal Committee of Amritsar and forced him to confess that while cleaning the circuit house he had stolen the ring from Lady Chandu Lal’s purse.

Mr Kaul and Inspector Imtiaz Ali boisterously and pompously announced their “success” to the Press. Sir Chandu Lal was happy and instructed the Chief Secretary of Punjab, Mr Mulkhraj Sachdev, and Inspector-General of Police Sant Parkash Singh to give four special increments to Mr Kaul along with an appreciation letter for his investigative skills and an award of Rs 5,000. Inspector Imtiaz Ali was promoted as DSP along with an award of Rs 2,500.

Sant Parkash Singh also hosted a dinner in honour of these officers. All were happy and gleeful.

Suddenly, Lady Chandu Lal found the original ring in her jewellery box placed in the almirah of her bedroom. Now, it was a strange situation as she had got two diamond rings, one allegedly recovered from the head sweeper and the other one lying in the jewellery box. She told the entire story to her husband who did not take much time to understand the trick played.

He rushed to Amritsar and suspended Mr Kaul and dismissed the newly promoted Imtiaz Ali. He also released the head sweeper arrested in this case and gave him Rs 2,500 from his own pocket and apologised to him in front of the district officers. The Deputy Commissioner also sought his pardon.

Mr Kaul remained under suspension for a long time and later died of a heart attack. Imtiaz Ali went to Pakistan, where he got his job restored and retired as IG in the Punjab Police in 1975. The released head sweeper got promoted as Supervisor in the Municipal Committee of Amritsar. The extra ring was returned to the government treasury.

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