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National Gallery of Australia to return 14 unlawfully stolen artworks from India

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The National Gallery of Australia has stated that a total of 14 artworks will be returned to India, which were unlawfully stolen.

Sculptures, photos, and a scroll are among the items on display.

Also read: West Bengal CM Mamta Banerjee meets and asks Javed Akhtar to compose song on her slogan “Khela Hobe” amidst her 4-day visit to Delhi

Collection worth


The collection is mainly made up of “religious and cultural artefacts” valued at around $2.2 million, some of which date back to the 12th century.

What really happened?

National Gallery of Australia 2 Australia The North-Eastern Chronicle

The items were stolen and unlawfully exported, according to the museum where they were kept.

The artworks were purchased from disgraced art dealer Subhash Kapoor by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) between 1989 and 2009.

Kapoor is a former Manhattan art dealer who was the target of Operation Hidden Idol, a huge US federal investigation.

Several other artifacts purchased via Kapoor have already been returned to the National Gallery of Australia, including a US$5 million bronze statue of the Hindu deity Shiva taken from a Tamil Nadu temple.

What NGA’S director has to say about it

The NGA’s director, Nick Mitzevich, said the organization had put in place rules to examine any legal or ethical concerns with the work it owns. It is looking into three additional sculptures from its Asia collection.

“As a 21st-century institution one needs to look at the much wider ramifications of decision-making and we need to balance the legal requirements with the ethical,” he said.

“We have a framework that I think strikes an appropriate balance.”

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