Former president Pratibha Patil has courted controversy yet again. This time, she is under the scanner for taking a range of expensive gifts she had received as President to her hometown Amravati. It is being seen as an aberration of sorts by Constitutional experts.
Patil reportedly received more than 150 gifts during her tenure as President. These included a gift from US President Barack Obama and a gold-plated miniature of the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
Now, every gift is being transferred to Amravati where they will be placed in a museum in Vidyabharti College, a trust run by Patil's family.
The Presidential estate reportedly signed an official MOU with the trust, say sources.
In the museum, Pratibha Patil's political journey will be on display. The museum is likely to open in December for which the college administration could even charge a fee.
The Officer on Special Duty to the former president has, however, clarified that the select 150 objects that she received as President are on a loan and can be taken back by the President's estate anytime.
Constitutional experts, however, find this entire exercise by the former president a little out of convention.
Says Sushabh Kashyap, a Constitutional expert, "Gifts received by the President go to the 'tosha khana' and are a property of the State and the people of the country."
Convention dictates that outgoing presidents do not take anything with them.
This is not the first time the former president has courted a controversy. Earlier, after a growing public outrage over "grabbing defence land" for a post-retirement home, she was forced to surrender land allotted for her new home in Pune and now her latest attempt to carry her legacy quite literally to her hometown has raised many eyebrows.