Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday handed over an antique bronze idol of Buddha to Minister of State (MoS) for Culture & Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel in New Delhi. This Buddha statue is documented as "Seated Buddha in Bhumisparsha Mudra'' with a height of 6.5 inches and dates back to the 12th century.
The Bronze Idol of 'Buddha seated in the Bhumisparsha Mudra' was stolen on August 22, 1961, from the Nalanda Museum of ASI and had resurfaced at an auction in Maastricht (organized by a London based dealer Rossi & Rossi in February 2018). After receiving this information, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officer in London contacted the Art & Antique Unit of Metropolitan Police. ASI also certified that the statue was stolen from Archaeological Museum, Nalanda.
Scotland Yard handed over the statue to the Indian High Commissioner to the UK, YK Sinha on August 15, 2018, to mark the Independence Day. The Finance Minister and the Culture Minister both expressed their happiness at the return of the idol.