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Auction of Gandhiís belongings called off

New York, March 5
The US-based owner of Mahatma Gandhiís five personal belongings, including the iconic round-eye glasses, today decided to withdraw from the controversial auction of the prized memorabilia just hours before they were due to come under the hammer.

Sources close to the US-based collector, James Otis, said he would be formally communicating to the New York-based Antiquorum Auctioneers that he would like to withdraw from the auction. However, there was no immediate word from the auctioneers, who till now had been maintaining that the auction would take place as scheduled on Friday. The auctioneers were reluctant about pulling the five items off the auction bloc at the last moment, sources said.

Notably, hectic parleys are underway to resolve the issue.

Otisí adviser Lester Kurtz was quoted by TV channels as saying that Gandhi's items were not up for auction now. The move followed intense negotiations between him and Indian diplomats at the Indian Consulate in New York.

Earlier in the day, Otis set new conditions to call off the auction, including Indiaís shift in its priorities from military spending to healthcare, especially for the poor. The Indian government stood firm in its response and rejected the conditions and was even prepared to bid for the items, if required. ó PTI

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