Contrary to the instructions issued by the Heritage Protection Cell that the damaged heritage furniture will only be repaired at a specific workshop located at Chandigarh College of Architecture, the Punjab Finance and Planning Department got repaired two heritage tables, which were designed by Le Corbusier and Pieere Jeannere, from local carpenters.
The fact came to light when the tables along with other furniture items were recovered from the house of theft accused AC mechanic Harbhajan Singh at Milakh village near Mullanpur of Mohali district. The table tops of two of the recovered tables were separate and of very light weight.
Sources said, “The table tops of both the heritage tables are merely plyboards, which can be easily picked and removed. According to the original structure of these tables, upper portion of these tables could not be separated from its base. When the tables were recovered from the house of Harbhajan, the table tops were separated and these were merely wooden boards, which were placed on the base of tables. We got examined the recovered furniture items from an officer of Le Corbusier Centre in Sector 19. The officer also pointed out this fact and maintained that the upper boards of these two tables have substandard wooden material. These do not belong to original tables. We also examined two other recovered tables, which were intact and remained very heavy.”
A police officer said, “Later, we learnt that the damaged heritage tables were got repaired by the personnel of Punjab Finance and Planning Department.”
When contacted, section officer of Punjab Finance and Planning Department, Geeta, who is the complainant in this case, expressed ignorance about the fact that these tables were repaired by the department. She said, “I have been working here for the last 25 years but never heard that this furniture was repaired. The furniture might have been repaired before my joining. We have still one table in our office and the top of this table is very light weight.”
Kapil Setia, chief architect of Chandigarh and chairman of Heritage Protection Cell, said, “I will have to examine the recovered heritage tables. Earlier, we issued instructions to all the government departments, in which the heritage furniture items were kept, that the damaged furniture articles will only be examined at a workshop at Chandigarh College of Architecture in Sector 12.”
Meanwhile, heritage furniture theft accused Harbhajan Singh was remanded in judicial custody on Tuesday. Police have sent an application to the Punjab Finance and Planning Department to supply the list of all the nine peons. Singh disclosed during interrogation that one of the peons out of nine was involved in the theft of furniture items. The case is being probed by the operations cell of the UT Police.