Kohinoor diamond was surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to Queen Victoria of England, says Archeological Survey of India
Contradicting the government’s stand, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) in a recent RTI reply said that the diamond was in fact ‘surrendered’ by the Maharaja of Lahore to Queen Victoria of England. In April 2016, its response to a PIL, the government had told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond was not forcefully taken or stolen by the British.
The government had stated that it was gifted to the East India Company by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh who was the ruler of Punjab at the time. In its response to a PIL, the government had said that Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kin had given the Kohinoor to the British as ‘voluntary compensation’ to cover the expenses of the Anglo-Sikh War.
A RTI application filed by activist Rohit Sabharwal sought information showing the grounds on which the Kohinoor was transferred to the UK.
Sabharwal said “I had no clue who to approach with my RTI application, so I forward it to the Prime Minister’s office (PMO). It was the PMO that sent it to ASI. The RTI Act allows a public authority to transfer an application to another another authority which has the information sought”.
On being asked if it was a gift to the UK by the Indian authorities or if there was any other reason for the transfer, the ASI replied “As per the records, the Lahore Treaty held between Lord Dalhousie and Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849, the Kohinoor diamond was surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.”