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Mar 04, 2009 at 04:02pm IST

'Govt will ensure Gangdiji's items are back'

New Delhi: India's Consul General in New York Prabhu Dayal has said that the Government of India will ensure that Gandhiji's belongings are brought back to the country.

"Indian government has been in touch with Antiquorum (Antiquorum Auctioneers) since February 26. Government had offered to purchase the lot at reserve price but was refused. The Consulate contacted consignor of Lot 364 James Otis and will meet him on Wednesday morning New York time. Consulate met with Chairman of Antiquorum on Tuesday morning. According to Gandhiji's will, all possessions were bequeathed to Navajivan Trust and these items belong to that Trust. We will take every possible step to see items are returned to India," said Dayal in an interview with CNN-IBN Correspondent Annirudh Bhattacharya in New York on Tuesday.

The Delhi High Court has already issued a stay on the auction of Mahatma Gandhi's personal effects which is slated to be held in New York on March 5.

The stay order will help the Indian government buy time to attempt bringing back Gandhi's belongings.

India has failed to persuade either the auction house or the owner James Otis from stopping the auction.

The order came after Ahmedabad-based Navjivan Trust approached the High Court. Five prized articles of Gandhiji, including his iconic round glasses and sandals are to go under the hammer.

In 1996 a similar stay by the Madrash High Court had prevented some of Gandhi's manuscripts from being auctioned in London.