January 31, 2021 2:10:35 am
As many as 10 heritage items designed by French architect Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret were auctioned at Paris in France for 3,09,400 Euros (Rs 2.74 crore) on January 28. A heritage table, reportedly belonging to Panjab University, fetched the highest bidding amount of 66,300 Euros (Rs 58.67 lakh).
The other items included a pair of armchairs from Chandigarh’s Administrative Building, which were auctioned for 42,900 Euros, a screen for Euros 27,300, sofa model from the Administrative Building for Euros 37,700, a coffee table also from the furnishings of the Administrative Building for 15,600 Euros, a desk with pigeon hole storage for 23,400 Euros, pair of office armchairs for 31,200 Euros, library table from Panjab University for 66,300 Euros, a bench seat for 23,400 Euros and a teak table for 20,800 Euros.
Sources said the auction house in Paris shared the details of the auction and furniture items on its website, on which the items were shown as private collections.
Advocate Ajay Jagga, member of UT Heritage Protection Committee, filed a complaint in the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Ambassador of India to France. He urged that criminal action be taken against the people responsible for smuggling the furniture out of Chandigarh and further auctioning them in France.
In the communication to the MEA, Jagga mentioned about the orders of the MHA issued on February 22, 2011, barring all kinds of exports of furniture items designed by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, along with the ASI’s order banning the export.
At least 48 heritage chairs were stolen from PU in November 2020. Almost all the chairs were recovered. Local thieves along with a Zirakpur-based carpenter were arrested in connection with the theft. A team of the crime branch had also traveled to Mumbai to arrest the prime accused in the matter, but had returned empty hand.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines