Nitin Khot, the government’s economic adviser, rebutted the claim of Col. DK Haridas, commandant, Maratha Light Infantry Regimental Centre (MLIRC), about shifting of artefacts from the Fort area. Khot claimed 12 exquisitely carved ancient stones were indeed transported as a gift for Maj. KS Nijjar. He lashed out at Col. Haridas for his clarification to the media. Khot said radiocarbon-14 dating can only be done on hydrocarbon fossil material such as bones, horn, teeth, etc. Neither ASI nor any organization conducts C-14 testing on stones which don’t develop hydrocarbons over time.
The colonel is trying to label whistle blowers as people with vested interest.
Before shifting artefacts or any monuments, Archaeological Survey of India or any government agency should permission from a competent authority of the Karnataka government three months before doing it. However, MLIRC hasn’t availed any permission for it, he said.
Neither the MLIRC nor the 115 Territorial Army Battallion had made any contact with the Archaeological Survey of India before shifting the stones. ASI has been given charge of Kamal Basti, Safa Masjid and Suryanarayan Temple and the rest of the fort is protected by the Karnataka Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1961.
A complaint was filed before DCP Anupam Agarwal to stop transportation. Police commissioner Soumendu Mukharjee said, “With regard to protection of these artefacts, police doesn’t have locus standi as it comes under the Treasure Trove Act. If police help is sought, it’ll be provided to the competent authority,” he said.