Gifts presented to the former Presidents, Pratibha Patil and A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, and loaned out for display, are back in the ‘tosha khana’ of Rashtrapati Bhavan, an application under the Right to Information Act has revealed.
While Ms. Patil loaned 155 items gifted to her to the Vidya Bharati Shaikshanik Mandal (VBSM), Amravati, Mr. Kalam handed over 36 artefacts to Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for display at the Brahmos Centre here.
Replying to a query from Subhash Agarwal, Rashtrapati Bhavan said the 155 gifts, which include crystals from Belgium, a bronze rhinoceros from China, candles from 10 Downing Street, and a stone box from the U.S. President, were loaned out under a memorandum of understanding signed between the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the VBSM.
None has been retained by the VBSM, and the former President herself has retained no gifts.
However, Rashtrapati Bhavan has not specified the cost of transport of the 155 gifts that were returned on May 22.
The gifts loaned to DRDO were received at Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 3, 2012.
After a controversy broke out over the lending of gifts received by Presidents, Rashtrapati Bhavan has decided to display them in its museum itself. But it is yet to verify whether the rule for declaring gifts received by ministers and senior officials from abroad will also apply to the President.