A grandson of shehnai maestro late Ustad Bismillah Khan and two others were arrested on Tuesday for stealing four of his priceless shehnais. The three shehnais are made of silver and the other has a silver base with a wooden frame.
They stole the shehnais from his house in Varanasi in December last year. Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force arrested Nazare Hussain, the son of Khan’s elder son Kazim Hussain; local jeweller Shanker Seth and his son Sujit Seth from the Chowk area.
The jewellers own a shop, Shankar jewellers in the area and after purchasing the shehnais from Nazare Hussain, they allegedly melted the silver shehnais.
The police recovered 1.66 kg of silver produced by melting the shehnais and also a wooden frame with a silver base.
Kazim Hussain on December 5 lodged an FIR at Chowk police station that thieves entered his ancestral house at Hardaha Sarai and stole five shehnais of his father. He said he came to know about the theft when he visited his ancestral house on December 4.
ASP (STF) S Anand said, “We suspected the role of relatives from the beginning, and kept a close watch on activities of all family members. We recently received a tip-off that Nazre Hasan was planning to leave Varanasi. We kept him under watch. On Tuesday morning, we came to know he is leaving for Assam. We picked him up from near the house and brought him to local STF office for questioning.”
He added at the time of interrogation, Nazre Hasan admitted that he stole the shehnais and sold the instruments to Shankar Jewellers for Rs 17,000.
Following this confession, Shankar Lal and his son were arrested. The ASP stated during the investigation Surjeet Kumar confessed that they have purchased the shehnais and on the same day they melted the instruments. Anand said while the family had reported five shehnais were stolen, Nazre Hasan confessed to stealing only four.
The maestro’s family members said the shehnais were very special to the legend. Former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, Congress leader Kapil Sibal and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad gifted the shehnais to Bismillah Khan. The fourth silver and wood shehnai was khan’s prized possession and he played it on Muharram every year.