Two months after a case was registered against a former executive director of Air India for allegedly stealing a painting by renowned artist Jatin Das, the probe has been transferred to the Crime Branch. JCP (New Delhi) Ajay Chaudhary confirmed the development, and said that Air India had, after an internal inquiry, filed a case under IPC Section 380 (theft) at Barakhamba Road police station on November 11, 2017.
As per the FIR in the case, the Air India inquiry had found that a former Air India employee had allegedly stolen the painting between 2004 and 2009 — when he was the general manager. As per the FIR, the painting titled Flying Apsara was commissioned by Air India in 1991 and is worth Rs 25 lakh.
The incident came to light last June when Das, a Padma Bhushan awardee, wrote to Air India, saying that the painting had gone missing. This prompted the airline to launch an internal probe.
The FIR also stated that art curator Pooja Acharya had alerted Das about the missing painting when she came to know that it was available in the open market. She also reportedly told Das that the accused had allegedly approached someone to sell the painting.
The FIR further stated that the painting was returned to them in a “torn condition” after the incident came to light. Police said that when the accused was called in to join the probe, he said that he only had a replica of the painting, and was unaware of what had happened to the original.