Shimla: Dix Noonan Webb, the London based auction house, has withdrawn the auction sale of George Cross awarded to Naik Kirpa Ram that was to go under the hammer on Wednesday (2nd December) .
In an email response to a My Himachal News query, Nimord Dix, managing director of Dix Noonan Webb said, â€œThe George Cross awarded to Naik Kirpa Ram has been withdrawn from the auction sale tomorrow both at the request of the vendor and of the Metropolitan Police pending resolution of the ownership dispute. It is normal in such circumstances to suspend a sale for this process to take place in good time without being rushed.â€
On behalf of the vendor Nimrod Dix stated:
I can give you the following statement from the vendor who wishes to remain anonymous whilst these investigations are carried out:
â€œI acquired these medals in good faith nine years ago from Mr S.L. Jain of Delhi who is a reputed coin and medal dealer, after being shown the two affidavits along with a video which I saw prior to purchasing the medals, the affidavits and contents of the video convinced me that the medals had been acquired in a proper manner. Efforts are on to try and locate this video, if found then it will be handed over to Scotland Yard for further investigation.
There appears to be a legal and moral/humane side to this rather sad story. The legal point of view brings up issues which do not quite make sense, one of them being the year of the reported theft is shown as 2002, while as I acquired these medals from Mr Jain in 2000. There are other points as well, but I leave that to competent authority to investigate.â€
It may be worthwhile to mention that the George Cross medal auction did figure in parliament on Monday, where parliamentarians from Himachal impressed upon the central government to try and stall the auction of the contentious medal.
Brahmi Devi, who has been maintaining that she did not sell the medal or gift it to anyone, today met chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and has sought the state governments help in recovering the last memory of her husband.
Meanwhile making headway in the investigations, the Himachal police have detained Kirpal Singh, a resident of Punjab, and some witnesses to the affidavit that claims that Brahmi Devi had gifted Kirpal Singh the medal. They are being questioned in the matter.