'Koh-i-Noor' diamond was not 'stolen', but gifted to Britishers: Centre tells SC

In a move which is likely to thwart attempts to bring back 'Koh-i-Noor' from the United Kingdom, the Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the priceless diamond was not stolen by the Britishers but it was gifted to them by the erstwhile ruler of Punjab.

Updated: Apr 19, 2016, 00:56 AM IST
Play'Koh-i-Noor' diamond was not 'stolen', but gifted to Britishers: Centre tells SC

New Delhi: In a move which is likely to thwart attempts to bring back 'Koh-i-Noor' from the United Kingdom, the Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the priceless diamond was not stolen by the Britishers but it was gifted to them by the erstwhile ruler of Punjab.

In a submission made today, the Solicitor General appearing on behalf of the Centre told the apex court that 'Koh-i-Noor' was not stolen by the British, but it was gifted by Maharaja Ranjit Singh to the East India Company.

The Solicitor General told the apex court that India should not claim 'Koh-i-Noor' as it was neither stolen nor 'forcibly' taken away.

It is the stand of the Culture Ministry and Ministry of External Affairs is also a party and a response is yet to come from them, the Solicitor General told the apex court.

The apex court then asked the Centre to file a detailed reply within six weeks.

The Centre’s reply came after the SC had last week asked it to clarify its stand on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking return of the crown jewel to the country.

Meanwhile, Nafis Ahmad Siddiqi, the petitioner in the Kohinoor case, the priceless diamond was not gifted to the Britishers. They (Centre) have put in false facts on how it went to London.

'Koh-i-Noor' is the largest colourless diamond that was mined near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh in India in the 13th century.

The uncut diamond weighed 793 carats and it has been in possession of Queen Victoria since 1849.