“Illegal” auction of antique furniture: activist from Chandigarh writes to Interior Minister Shah

Five Chandigarh antique furniture items were auctioned for Rs 66.47 lakh. The five items included a bookcase which was auctioned for Rs 5.05 lakh, a bench for Rs 11.66 lakh, lawyer chairs for Rs 21.77 lakh, a table for Rs 21.77 lakh and four chairs which cost Rs 6.22 lakh at auction.

Ajay Jagga, a member of the Chandigarh heritage protection cell and activist in the city, wrote to the Union’s interior minister, Amit Shah, to request a final investigation into the case.

“Resolution 2004/34 of July 21, 2004, Protection against trafficking in cultural property, notes that” organized criminal groups are involved in the trafficking of stolen cultural property and that the international trade in looted, stolen or smuggled cultural property is estimated at several billion dollars. per year. ”Therefore, you are requested to consider the matter and request a report on the protection against trafficking of cultural property, especially ancient property belonging to the heritage of Chandigarh, so that the loopholes can be filled and qu ‘Appropriate action be taken after ascertaining the facts and in view of the constitutional mandate,’ said the letter written by Jagga.

Jagga has given several pointers to the UT administration and central government in advance of several auctions in the past, but to no avail.

Several auctions have taken place abroad in recent times. However, despite the advance announcement of these auctions, no action has been taken by the UT administration to end the auction.

About 2 years ago, the Directorate of Tax Intelligence (DRI) wrote to the government of Punjab to take action under the rules of conduct against their official NPS Randhawa, former director of the museum, for his alleged dealings with a man of ‘case, accused of smuggling antique furniture from Chandigarh. .

Punjab’s Minister of Local Organizations and Cultural Affairs, Navjot Singh Sidhu, also wrote to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh asking him to dismiss the official. Sidhu said the vigilance department was with the chief minister and only he could order an investigation into the matter.

The minister even said that if nothing happened he would get an FIR in the case, however, to date nothing has been done.

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