Gandhi items: Trustee's daughter says her father is innocent

Rajkot: Daughter of Pravin Ahya, one of the trustees of Kasturba Dham, accused of selling Gandhiji's personal belongings, has defended her father.

In this regard, Ahya's daughter Meera Chatwani has filed an application before the Joint Charity Commissioner and the district collector here.

Chatwani filed the application yesterday and demanded stern action against the current manager of the Kasturba Dham Jaysinh Rathod, who has accused her father Pravin Ahya and present managing trustee Vibhakar Vaccharaji.

She has said that the allegations against her father were baseless and motivated to remove him from the trust committee only to take control of huge lands of Kasturba Dham. She demanded strict action against those who are making false allegations against her father.

Chatwani said that Gandhiji's items like sandals, spectacles, bowl and plate, which had gone missing, were with Abhaben Gandhi who was close to Gandhiji.

After Abhaben's death, her daughter Geetaben Mehta was in possession of the items, Chatwani said, adding that the auction of Gandhi personal items was carried out by Geetaben through one Peter Rou in the US in 2002.

One person John Autis had bought them in the auction and therefore her father Pravin Ahya had no role to play in the auction, she added.

Manager of Kasturba Dham Jaysinh Rathod had, in an affidavit before Joint Charity Commissioner last month, accused Ahya of selling sandals, spectacles, bowl and plate by auctioning them in the US while another trustee Vibhakar Vaccharajani was accused of helping Ahya to take away the items from Kasturba Dham.

Following the manager's affidavit,the Assistant Police Commissioner Nilesh Janjadiya probed the matter by recording statements of the persons concerned which revealed that the items had never been in Kasturba Dham in the past.

Kasturba Dham is located near Tramba on the city's outskirts. Gandhiji's wife Kasturba was kept under house arrest here during freedom struggle and now it has been converted into a memorial.

Many articles used by Mahatma Gandhi during different times had been exhibited here.