New Delhi: In a shocker, old photographs and many historic artefacts have reportedly been missing from the sprawling Rashtrapati Bhavan. President Pranab Mukherjee, annoyed at it, has ordered a probe into the matter.

Rare furniture, paintings and artefacts have been taken away by some senior officials posted at Rashtrapati Bhavan, say sources.

Mukherjee has ordered that all historic artefacts be searched and a big museum be set up inside the Rashtrapati Bhavan, which could be opened to visitors. The fact that old paintings and artefacts are missing apparently came to light due to president’s love for antiques and collectibles.

According to sources, when Mukherjee asked about the table on which Lord Irwin and Mahatma Gandhi signed the historic 1931 Gandhi-Irwin pact, it was found missing. Also, a study table used by last British viceroy Lord Mountbatten was also missing.

Former president Pratibha Devisingh Patil took 155 artefacts as ‘gifts’ with her, which have been accounted for though. She has created a mini-museum at her residence. However, these artefacts could later be brought back to Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The president while leaving the Rashtrapati Bhavan is allowed to take only books as gifts. But some other officials took away some rare artefacts, say sources.

Notably, Joint Secretary Gayatri Kumar has been assigned the task to collate facts and arrange for return of the historic artefacts from the residences of former officials.

(JPN/Bureau)

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