Following the government's assertion that the legendary Kohinoor diamond could not be brought back as it was 'gifted' to the British, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday expressed his disappointment over the stand of the ruling dispensation and said that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding the facts of the diamond's transaction from India to Britain.
“The first production of the Kohinoor was during the Kakatiya dynasty, which was in Warangal and this was taken out from the Guntur mines. It was later taken over by the Mughals, who put it in the peacock throne then it went to Abdali then to his opponents and then to Maharaja Ranjit Singh. When he was getting sick and he knew that he may die, he wrote his will and bequeathed the diamond to Jagannath Mandir. That's final. You can't change that,” Swamy told ANI.
Expressing his frustration at the law officers of the government, he said that he was ashamed of them for claiming that this was a 'gift' to the British when the truth was miles away from it. Throwing light on the history of the diamond's transaction, Swamy added that Maharaja Ranjit Singh's 13-year-old son Dilip Singh had a British tutor.
“When the young prince was about to meet Queen Victoria, he was told that he would have to present her a grand gift, which is when he gave the diamond. However, he regretted what he did as he grew older,” said Swamy. “All this is recorded in the book of our High Commission in London. The book is titled 'exile'. The Prime Minister should tell the Additional General and the Solicitor General to compulsorily read that book first and then file a new affidavit,” Swamy said.
The government yesterday told the Supreme Court that as per the Ministry of Culture, India should not stake a claim to the famed Kohinoor diamond as 'it was neither stolen nor forcibly taken away'. Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the government, said this was the stand of the Culture Ministry.
Chief Justice T.S. Thakur asked the Centre if it wants the case to be dismissed as they would face a problem in the future when putting forward any legitimate claim. The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to file a detailed reply within six weeks.
Following the furore by the government's assertion, Union Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said that only the Centre can act on the issue of the Kohinoor diamond. “According to the guidelines, the Central Government can take steps on things that were gifted or procured by the British before independence. Expert opinion on this regard will be taken at an appropriate time,” he told ANI.
The diamond is now part of the glittering purple-velvet Queen Mother's Crown in the Tower of London. For years, the politicians and others in India and in the UK have said the diamond was seized after the British annexed Punjab.The gem was once the largest diamond in the world and is twice the size of the Hope Diamond.