The Kerala High Court has sought the State government’s views on a petition seeking a CBI probe into the reported disappearance of some original paintings of Raja Ravi Varma, classical Indian painter from the State.
A direction in this regard was issued on Friday by a division bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice P. R. Raman on a petition filed by Archana Narayanan, advocate and great grand-niece of Raja Ravi Varma.
The petitioner submitted that as per records of the Kilimanoor Palace, over 75 paintings had been handed over to the then government. But only 55 had been exhibited at the Thiruvananthapuram-based Sree Chitra Art Gallery, managed by the Directorate of Museum and Zoo.
She alleged that some private art galleries had openly auctioned Varma’s masterpieces without prior permission from the Archaeological Survey of India.
Though an inquiry was conducted earlier on a petition filed by a relative of the petitioner, the report was “vague” and “contradictory”, Ms. Narayanan pointed out and sought a CBI probe.
The petitioner alleged that Indian art treasures were freely put on auctions abroad. To prevent such illegalities, the CBI should be directed to seize works of Varma from those who indulged in such smuggling, she said.