Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma on Monday ruled out any action by his ministry to bring back from Britain the famed Kohinoor diamond, saying that if any call on the matter needs to be taken, it will be at the diplomatic level.
"If a diplomatic call needs to be taken (to bring back Kohinoor), it would be taken by the Indian government or External Affairs Ministry at the right time...the Culture Ministry will not take any initiative (to get back the diamond)," Sharma told reporters in New Delhi.
Noting that the issue dates back to the pre-Independence period, he said, "According to the guidelines, if any of our antiquities is found anywhere after Independence, the Culture Ministry takes initiatives to get it back."
However, issues of antiquities before Independence "do not come under the purview of the Culture Ministry," he said.
When told that the Centre has informed the Supreme Court that the precious diamond was gifted by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company, he said, "As per our records, it was gifted."
Earlier, the government told the apex court that the 105.6-carat diamond was neither "stolen" nor "forcibly taken away" by the British.
Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the government, said the diamond was given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company.
The apex court had on April 9 asked the Centre to disclose its stand on bringing back the diamond while hearing a petition filed by All India Human Rights and Social Justice Front.