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SJM ex-director under scanner over artefacts' 'theft'

Antiques disappear by the thousands in Salar Jung Museum in the 1990-ies

Published on 4 May 2011

Author(s): The Times of India

Type:  News

As many as 10,000 artefacts, many of them precious antiques, were smuggled out of the `high-security' Salar Jung Museum (SJM) in the early nineties. This had prompted the central government to constitute a committee to investigate the then director's alleged role in the matter, highly placed sources told TOI on Tuesday.

They said the smuggling of artefacts belonging to the Nizam's era at SJM by Hasan Ali Khan was possibly facilitated by the former director of the museum itself. Hasan Ali had made the startling confession about stealing antiques from the museum on March 31.

Sources said the official who was in-charge of the museum between the late 70's and early 90's, was charged with pilferage of antiques during his term. Though nothing has been proved so far, the matter is believed to be still under investigation with the former director yet to get a clean chit.

Even as museum authorities denied such allegations and said that Hasan Ali was trying to "mislead" the police with such doctored confessions, source maintain that close to 10,000 artefacts were indeed found missing from the museum. "The culture department had initiated an inquiry into the matter.

The matter is still pending and no final verdict has been given by the committee so far,'' said a source, even as some other officials claimed that the case was closed way back in 1998. "The committee was unable to find any proof to establish the role of the director in the matter and thus shut the case due to lack of evidence," the source said.

It is also learnt that the director, following the inquiry, opted for a pre-mature retirement and stepped down from his role in 1993.

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