Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman virtually presides over handing-over ceremony of 101 antiquities seized by Customs to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)

azadi ka amrit mahotsav

: Mumbai/New Delhi, February 29, 2024

Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman virtually presided over the handing-over ceremony of the antiquities seized by Customs to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) conducted by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), from New Delhi, today. The handing-over ceremony was held at seven different locations viz. Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai and Pune.

In total, 101 numbers of seized articles of antiquities were handed over by different field formations of Customs to ASI for display and specialised care. Out of the said 101 antiquities, few will be displayed at ‘Dharohar’- the National Museum of Customs & CGST at Goa.

While handing over Customs seized antiquities to the ASI, the Union Finance Minister stated that Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been making sure that stolen artefacts and antiquities are brought back to India from various countries for which bilateral negotiations keep on taking place. Many artefacts and antiquities have been brought back in recent times and with these 101 seized articles of antiquities, Customs is contributing to India’s rich history.

As part of the handing over of antiquities ceremony, Mumbai Customs Zone III, in presence of Chief Commissioner Smt. Prachi Saroop, handed over five medieval era khanjars and one damascus steel folding knife of british period to ASI Mumbai Circle. ASI Mumbai Circle Superintending Archeologist Shri Subha Majumdar ceremonially received these items from the custodian till date, Customs Superintendent Shri Radheshyam Nandanwar.

The antique khanjars and folding knife were seized as a result of alert action by the officers in 2003 and 2004. Intelligence was developed that some syndicates were actively engaged in the export of artefacts through postal exports from India to France. Vigilant action resulted in interception of five Khanjars and the seizure was made in 2003. Later in 2004, a parcel containing a Damascus folding knife of British era was being imported from Japan, involving the same syndicate. This artefact was intercepted and seized. Five Khanjars are of medieval period having leaf design work of Meenakari style. The hilts are decorated with floral motifs with the shape of animal head and with fish scale decoration. One of the Khanjar hilts is made up of black coloured semi-precious stone. Their covers are decorated in Koftgiri style with inlay of silver. The knife is a folding knife made of Damascus steel and is of British period. The hilt is wooden and cover is made up of brown coloured leather, informed Chief Commissioner, Mumbai Customs Zone III.

The Indian Customs and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are collaborating since decades to secure and preserve our antiquities, be that work of literature, artefacts, idols, paintings, coins etc. Unauthorised export of antiquities is prohibited under the provisions of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972.



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Source PIB