BENGALURU: For over two decades, a generation of art lovers has missed seeing nearly 300 works of Russian artist Dr Svetoslav Roerich. These works were seized by Bengaluru police in 1994 following a case of theft and cheating lodged against former staff of the estate belonging to Roerich and his actress wife Devika Rani.
The works and other antiques were locked up and kept under the watchful eye of the Central Crime Branch (CCB) as the protracted legal battle continued. But there is some glimmer of hope now. Efforts are being made to bring the paintings out of the dark rooms so that they can be made available for public viewing.
The Roerich and Devikarani Estate Board has requested the prosecution department to file application before magistrate court to release Roerich’s paintings kept in sealed rooms.
Sources in the Board told Express that a decision was taken to that effect at a recent meeting of the board chaired by chief secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia, expressing concern that invaluable paintings will remain inaccessible to generations as the trial moves at a snail’s pace.
Also Board members expressed concern that the artworks may deteriorate if they remain in dark rooms for longer duration, though steps are being taken regularly for their conservation. The case of theft, cheating and breach of trust was registered by R Devadas in 1994 against Mary Joyce Poonacha, MA Poonacha, B N Nandakumar and Anil Poonacha, who were staff members at the estate of the Roerich couple.