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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Probe begins into Miss Universe shoe photoshoot at Taj Mahal

Hemendra Chaturvedi and Agencies, Hindustan Times  Agra , October 10, 2013
First Published: 21:32 IST(10/10/2013) | Last Updated: 21:36 IST(10/10/2013)

The tourism police have started examining the CCTV footage of Miss Universe Olivia Culpo’s unauthorised shoe photoshoot at Taj Mahal after an FIR was registered against her on Wednesday. 

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Culpo, a US national, visited the world-famous “monument to love” in Agra on Sunday during a 10-day tour of India. She had posed for photographers with branded shoes while sitting on the Diana Seat, a marble ledge in front of the white mausoleum named after the late British princess, who visited in 1992.

Such acts of publicity and branding within the Taj premises are prohibited by the Supreme Court.

Visitors must take off their shoes while visiting the monument, an Islamic mausoleum built for the late wife of Mughal ruler Shah Jahan and completed in 1648. Footwear is allowed in the garden area where the Diana Seat is located.

The tourism police are looking into other aspects of the case, including Culpo carrying the bag of sandals to the central tank in Taj Mahal.

Apart from the Miss Universe, the FIR filed by Archaelogical Survey of India mentions tour manager and Indian-origin fashion designer Sanjana Jon and their group for violation of product placement rules, said in-charge of tourism police station Sushant Gaur.

“We have booked Culpo under various sections... of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act,” he added.
Meanwhile, there is a clamour to prevent violation of norms in the monument premises in future.

“Tourists are welcome but they must comply with norms,” said Sayyad Munawwar Ali, convenor of Uttar Pradesh Aman Committee.  He demanded that Culpo apologise for her conduct.

“A more vigilant approach on the part of officials and staff at Taj is required to prevent such incidents,” Rakesh Chauhan, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Agra, said. “The case should be investigated fairly by the tourism police so that not only visitors, but also staff from agencies deputed at the
Taj, who overlook such violations can be brought to book.”


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