Chandigarh, February 5
Following cancellation of an auction of as many as 40 UT heritage items from the city in Paris in January, a France-based law firm has come forward offering help to bring culprits to book.
In a letter to Chandigarh-based activist Ajay Jagga, who has been taking up cases of auction of UT heritage items worldwide, advocate Alexis Fournol has said: “... if you need assistance in France in the framework of the criminal proceedings that were opened after your report to the police, I will be delighted to help you to bring the legitimate claims of the Chandigarh Heritage Items Protection Cell before the French justice”.
40 artefacts were to go under hammer
- A French auction house had planned one of the biggest auctions, comprising 40 lots of UT articles, on January 29; value was pegged at Rs 4.02 cr-Rs 5.74 cr
- Ajay Jagga, a member of UT Heritage Items Protection Cell, wrote to Nathalie Chanvallon, Judicial Police Officer, Paris, who had visited UT in Nov
- After the objection was filed by the committee, the auction house put the event on hold for the time being, said sources
“If it is rare that so many pieces of furniture are gathered in a single auction in France, many other pieces of furniture coming from Chandigarh are nevertheless regularly offered for sale on the French territory.... We intervene in major cases involving criminal law relating to works of art for professional associations in particular, following the example of the case of the fake 18th century furniture sold to the Château de Versailles,” added the firm.
Willing to put forth claims
If you need assistance in France in framework of criminal proceedings opened after your report to police, I will be delighted to help you to bring legitimate claims before French justice. —Alexis Fournol, advocate
Will revert at right time
I am grateful for the assistance offered in France.... Since your law firm specialises in all matters relating to art law and the art market... will surely revert at an appropriate time. —Ajay Jagga, UT-based activist
In his reply, Jagga stated: “I am grateful for the assistance offered in France in the framework of the criminal proceedings.... Since your law firm specialises in all matters relating to art law and the art market... will surely revert at an appropriate time.”
The biggest-ever auction of the UT’s heritage items was scheduled to be held in France on January 29. The items were expected to fetch between Rs 4.02 crore and Rs 5.74 crore. The artefacts were designed by architects Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier and Balkrishna Doshi.
The artefacts included a pair of teak stools; a low chair with transversal back; two large file racks; a bamboo iron chair with cushion; a teak lounge table; two bamboo chairs; an armchair; easy chairs; a coffee table; armless chairs; a committee desk; two teak screens; a set of six floating back chairs; an office cane chair; a kangaroo teak sofa bench; a display and blue metal teak bookcase; a teak and iron chair; a pair of iron high stools; a tree trunk table; two takedown armchairs; a mobile cane seat; a pigeonhole desk; a set of four back office cane seats; a file rack; a box (student) chair; a lounge chair; a cross easy chair; a teak desk; a teak bench; and a cane seat.
Sources said after the UT Heritage Items Protection Cell filed an objection, the auction house had put the event on hold for the time being.
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