Shimla: Getting tough over taking possession of Roerich Museum at Naggar, Kullu, the Himachal government armed with a termination order of Alena Adamkova, yesterday failed to remove her from the property.
When contacted BM Nanta, deputy commissioner Kullu said, “termination orders of Alena Adamkova have been received and we are acting upon the directions of the state government.”
However, sources disclosed that a team headed by additional district magistrate RK Purthi of Kullu along with curator of Shimla museum who went to take charge of the Roerich Museum on Tuesday and to serve a termination order on the foreigner who has served as curator at the Naggar estate for over 10 years failed to do so as she refused to hand over charge. When contacted, Purthi refused to comment.
No senior government official was willing to comment and efforts to contact chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu were turned down till late evening on the grounds that an important meeting was on. Sources privy to the matter revealed that the government was contemplating arresting Adamkova and asking for her deportation from the country.
The government is in a bind about action to be taken against the foreigner as it was bound to raise a diplomatic furor for the International Roerich Memorial Trust that manages the Naggar estate has foreigners including the Russian Ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin on its board.
With allegations of mismanagement of the trust property cropping up and one lifetime trustee Shakti Singh Chandel having demanded a CBI probe into its functioning, the Indian trustees with Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal as its ex-officio president have refused to renew the employment visa of Alena Adamkova.
The Roerich’s multi crore estates at Kullu and Bangalore were converted into trusts in 1992 for management purposes by Devika Rani, an actress of yesteryears who was married to Svetoslav Roerich, son of the great philosopher artist Nicholas Roerich.
With the Karnataka High Court in July 2002 having struck down foreigners being allowed to act as trustees on the IRMT, Bangalore trust under the Indian Trusts Act, a ruling that was upheld by the Supreme Court in August 2011, legality of trustees of Russian origin permitted on IRMT Kullu have been raised.
A prolific artist Roerich (1874-1947), with thousands of paintings to his credit, is exhibited in all well known museums and art galleries across the globe. Having traveled extensively in America, Europe and Central Asia, the master artist finally came to settle at Naggar in 1929.
Though a 1996 catalogue is said to show 38 works by Nicholas Roerich at Naggar but the IRMT website put the count at 37. These paintings on permanent display at the museum alone are said to be valued anywhere between Rs 50 Crore to Rs 100 crore.