A Former Air India executive director has been booked for allegedly stealing a painting by renowned artist Jatin Das, which was part of the airlines’ collection. As reported by The Indian Express in July, the national carrier had conducted an internal inquiry into thefts of paintings “worth crores”, which had gone “missing” from its collection in the last decade.
The inquiry had found that the executive and other unidentified persons stole the painting, titled Flying Apsara, between 2004 and 2009.
Delhi Police, however, have not made any arrests in the case and are investigating the matter. “The FIR was registered on November 11 after the airline had approached police. In their complaint, they have named the former executive and other airline officials,” a police officer said.
The airline told police that as per its records, the painting was displayed at Air India Maharaja lounge at Terminal-2 of Indira Gandhi International Airport. It was later moved to Air India’s office at Hansalaya Building, near Connaught Place, around 2002.
The incident came to light after Das, a Padma Bhushan awardee, wrote to Air India in June claiming that one of his paintings had gone missing and was available for sale in the black market. “The complainant said the painting was put on sale to an art curator. The curator contacted Das to find out about the authenticity of his work. When the internal inquiry looked into the matter, they found that the executive had offered to sell the painting worth Rs 25 lakh,” the officer said.
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