Hours after high drama and frenzied bidding, Mahatma Gandhi’s personal belongings were bought for USD 1.8 million by industrialist Vijay Mallya, who said he “bidded for the country” at the auction after last-ditch attempts by India to stall the sale of the memorabilia fell through.
Just before the auction, owner of the items James Otis had agreed to withdraw them from the auction but the auction house did not agree. It argued that it could have a big liability if it allowed the items to be withdrawn from the auction as more than 30 bidders had already registered for them and some have even sent in written bids.
The community leaders expressed relief that the promise of keeping Gandhi’s iconic items, including his glasses, sandals, pocket watch, plate and a bowl, in India has been fulfilled.
Mallya’s move came as a total surprise as his name was never mentioned among those who might bid for the items. The bid on the floor was made by his representative Bedi and it was not until the auction was over that the liquor baron’s name surfaced to the surprise of everyone present.
India were rocking at 130 for one in 19 overs when rain disrupted the proceedings. After two restarts, the tourists had surged to 188 for four from 28.4 overs when the skies opened yet again.
Three interruptions had reduced the 50-over game to a 34-over affair, frustrating the motley crowd which hung on patiently for almost four hours before the umpires put them out of their anxiety. The teams move to Christchurch for the third ODI with India leading the five-match series 1-0.
Virender Sehwag (54) and Sachin Tendulkar (61), prudently playing second fiddle to his adventurous partner, put India in the driver’s seat with a quick-fire 76-run partnership for the first wicket.
The players of both teams, match officials and spectators observed a minute’s silence before the start of play, in recognition of the attack on the Sri Lankan team in Pakistan this week. Players and officials also wore black armbands during the game.
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Pitched battles were fought outside the Madras high court on Thursday afternoon after the police arrested 17 lawyers for attacking Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy.
As police used baton on lawyers who were protesting and shouting slogans, about 30 lawyers and several bystanders were injured, witnesses said.
A division bench of the court on Thursday morning ordered that a five-judge bench would hold an enquiry into the attack on Swamy by advocates inside the court premises on Tuesday.Lawyers sympathetic to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on Tuesday hurled rotten eggs at Swamy inside the court in the presence of the judges and shouted anti-India slogans.