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Kohinoor was gift to Britain, says Centre, goaded into response by SC

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that the East India Company did not take away the Kohinoor diamond but it was gifted to Britain by Sikh monarch Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

The government stand on the matter was conveyed to the apex court bench of Chief Justice TS Thakur and Justice UU Lalit in response to a public interest litigation by a non-governmental organisation, which was surprisingly not dismissed by the Supreme Court outright since writs of mandamus can not be issued against non-Indian public bodies.

The NGO, All India Human Rights and Social Justice Forum, has sought directions to the government to make efforts for getting the diamond back to India.

The court, while giving the government six more weeks, said that if it accepted the government position, all avenues for staking claim over the diamond will be shut.

The 108-carat diamond was presented to the then British monarch, Queen Victoria, in 1850 after the Anglo-Sikh wars, in which Britain gained control over the Sikh empire in the then undivided Punjab.

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