An ancient Lion Capital has shaken the pillars of power ahead of a heated poll season. The 300 BC Rampurva Capital built in the time of Ashoka the Great, that got ‘damaged’ while being shifted to a new building at the Indian Museum in Kolkata, the land of mercurial and high pitched TMC leader Mamata Banerjee, kicked off a political storm between the West Bengal Chief Minister and the Culture Ministry.
“We were shocked to find that the precious artefact has been broken and re-jointed wrongly. And it has even been painted black to hide the damage,” said a Culture Ministry official. According to the official, “everything looked wrong about the precious artefact”, but the Kolkata custodians of the statue washed their hands making lame excuses.
The matter was reported to Delhi and Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katotch ordered an ‘immediate inquiry’ into the lapses of the Kolkata museum. According to the official, the Ministry had served the Kolkata museum authority a 20-point questionnaire about the lapses with the Lion Capital which was not responded to ‘properly’ by the latter.
The Culture Ministry’s investigation team led by additional director general of ASI B R Mani went to Kolkata in January and came up with a damning report on the state of affairs at the Kolkata museum. The Ministry team was apparently ‘stunned’ by the glaring glitches in handling of the artefact and also about the manner in which the lapse has been hushed up.