The government of India in April 2016, had told the Apex Court that the Kohinoor diamond was not “forcibly taken nor stolen” by the British but it was actually gifted to the East India Company.
According to the government it was gifted by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who ruled Punjab at that point in time.
However, a recent RTI reply by the Archeological Survey of India (ASI), has contradicted the government’s stand by stating in that the diamond was in fact “surrendered” by the Maharaja of Lahore to Queen Victoria of England.
In its response to a PIL, the government had said the Kohinoor was gifted to the British as “voluntary compensation” to cover the expenses of the Anglo-Sikh War by the Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s kin.
An RTI query was filed by the activist Rohit Sabharwal seeking information showing the grounds on which the Kohinoor was transferred to the UK.
He said “I recently met a British national who claimed that the Kohinoor was gifted to the queen. Since that day, I decided to go deep into the subject.”
He further added that “I had no clue whom 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 authority which has the information sought.”