01/02/2015, 00.00
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Seven years later, Australia to return ancient stolen Buddha statue to India

A US billionaire had smuggled the Kushan period piece, selling to Camberra's National Gallery of Art (NGA). The art controversy ended during the two premiers' summit last September 2014.

New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - After seven years of blames and claims, Australia will return an ancient and famous Buddha statue to India. Dating back to second century BC, from Kushan period, the work was smuggled and sold to Camberra's National Gallery of Art (NGA).

Last September meeting between PM Narendra Modi and his counterpart Tony Abbott seemed to be essential to bring an end to this art scandal. Yet during the summit, Australian premier returned statues of 11th century Shiva Nataraja and Ardhanariswara to India.

Made of red sandstone and hailing from the Mathura region of Uttar Pradesh, the Kushan Buddha was sold to NGA by New York billionaire Ros Packer in 2008. The man betrayed the Australian government, saying that he had bought the piece from a British collector in Hong Kong.

After Indian authorities bring up the issue with Australia, NGA ordered a probe into the case. It was revealed that Packer had purchased two Kushan Buddhas from a trafficker. 


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