The Maharashtra Legislative Assembly borrowed an oil painting from noted artist late M R Achrekar 28 years ago, but did not return it to him or his family, an RTI query has revealed.
The painting is now in custody of the city-based Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan.
As per the information received through an application filed by RTI activist Anil Galgali, the Legislature Secretariat had requested Achrekar to lend a painting for a few days for an exhibition at the Vidhan Bhavan complex during its golden jubilee celebrations in 1987-88.
Achrekar, a Padma Shri awardee, complied with the request and handed over an oil painting drawn by him.
However, this art work was never returned to the artist during his lifetime or later to his family. It is now in custody of the Pratishthan, the RTI query revealed.
The Pratishthan, named after Yashawantrao Chavan, the first Chief Minister and architect of Maharashtra, is a non-party platform whose main objective is to deliberate and discuss the issues that the state faces.
How the painting landed with the Pratishthan is not known as the Secretariat has no record of handing it over to the organisation, the activist said, citing information provided in response to his application.
“I filed multiple RTI pleas with the Legislative Assembly. They admitted to have requested for the said painting from Achrekar, in which he has drawn events related to foundation of Maharashtra state,” he said.
But the art work was never returned to its owner or his heirs and is now in “illegal possession” of the Pratishthan, the RTI activist said.
After the revelation, Achrekar’s son Nitin said he will take legal recourse soon to get possession of the painting.
When contacted, Prathisthan Secretary Sharad Kale, who is also its Information Officer, said, “I shall not make any comment as of now.”
Principal Secretary of the Legislature Secretariat Anant Kalse said, “Since this case is very old, I need to check the records before making any comment.