Plunderers of Past Make Millions Through Legal Loopholes

16 Mar 2015 7:21 AM | Anonymous

Plunderers of Past Make Millions Through Legal Loopholes

Published: 15th Mar 2015

NEW DELHI:Indian government agencies fear that over 2,913 antiques have been shipped overseas to dealers and auction houses worldwide. In a curious case, US-based art historian Dr Pratapaditya Pal informed the Indian Embassy in Brussels that he spotted a sculpture he believed was from the Sas Bahu Temple, Nagda in Rajasthan. When ASI officials visited Brussels in January last year to check, they had to return empty-handed since the Belgians were not very forthcoming. ASI again wrote to Pal in May last year to “intimate about the present location of the object to initiate retrieval of the same.” Meanwhile, the statue is still waiting.

DEAL FOR DEAL: In September 2014, visiting Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbot signed a nuclear agreement with India to sell billions of dollars worth of uranium. But what sweetened the deal was Abbot’s return gift—two stolen antique Indian Shiva sculptures handed over to his counterpart Narendra Modi. A 900-year-old bronze Nataraja, bought for $5 million by National Gallery of Australia in 2008, and 1,100-year-old stone sculpture of Shiva with Nandi bought by Art Gallery of New South Wales for Rs 280,000 in 2004 from New York-based art dealer Subhash Kapoor, who is now on trial in Tamil Nadu for theft, marked the return of smuggled Indian art. As part of new-found bonhomie, Australians in January have also shown their willingness to return another 2nd century Buddha sculpture. But these are not the only ones. Through ASI and Indian embassies, the government is trying to get back 10 more “stolen” ancient sculptures lying in six countries.




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