Gandhi items belong to Trust, auction is illegal, says India | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Gandhi items belong to Trust, auction is illegal, says India

Dispelling doubts over the ownership rights of Mahatma Gandhi’s memorabilia which went under the hammer in New York, India has told the US government that these articles belong to the Navjivan Trust and their auction was illegal.

delhi Updated: Mar 20, 2009 14:20 IST

Dispelling doubts over the ownership rights of Mahatma Gandhi’s memorabilia which went under the hammer in New York, India has told the US government that these articles belong to the Navjivan Trust and their auction was illegal.

Responding to the US Justice Department’s queries, a senior cultural affairs ministry official said, “there has been no change in our stand and we have reiterated that these Gandhi articles belong to the Navjivan Trust and the auction is illegal.”

US Justice Department had raised queries to the Indian government about the auctioned items of Gandhi. Industrialist Vijay Mallya won the bid for $1.8 million. However, he could not acquire them because of the legalities involved with the auction.

The items on sale were Gandhi’s metal-rimmed glasses, a pocket watch, a brass plate, a bowl and a pair of sandals used by the Mahatma.

“We have responded to the queries through the Ministry of External Affairs and we have maintained that all these items are owned by the Navjivan Trust, founded by Gandhi himself.

“No one has the right to utilise it for commercial purpose including auctioning or sale,” he said.

Delhi High Court had issued an interim injuction in the first week of this month against the auction on the plea of the Navjivan Trust.

“The US administration has to (now) decide on the issue,” said the cultural affairs ministry official, adding, “our future course of action depends upon its decision.”

India is also considering to move courts in other countries seeking advance injunctions against any such sale of Gandhi items, officials said.