Jahangir's portrait sold for record Rs10 crore at London auction

Portrait, believed to have been painted by artist Abul Hasan when the emperor was in Mandu in 1617AD, is bought by a museum in the Middle East

New Delhi: A life-size portrait of Mughal emperor Jahangir, one of the largest known Mughal paintings, fetched an auction record Rs10 crore (about 1.4 million pounds) in London on Tuesday. The artwork has been bought by a museum in the Midde East.

The 17th century portrait, painted in gold and watercolour on white canvas, portrays Jahangir seated on a gold decorated throne holding a globe, wearing elaborate robes and jewellery. It went under the hammer at the Bonhams Indian and Islamic Sale, PTI reports.

"This is one of the rarest and most desirable 17th century paintings ever to come to auction. There is no other work of its kind known and its importance cannot be underestimated," said Alice Bailey, head of Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams. "The extraordinary detail and complexity of the painting both fascinate and bewitch the viewer. We are honoured to have sold it."
It is believed that the portrait was painted by the artist Abul Hasan and executed while Jehangir was in Mandu in 1617AD. It was previously shown in the National Portrait Gallery in London in an exhibition on the Indian Portrait in 2010.
The picture is a political tour de force in which the emperor lays claim to a world-wide ambition. This is achieved through its full life-size magnificence, use of precious items in it s creation, and the words that accompany it, all make his all conquering ambition plain. There is a circular pendant around the Emperor's neck set with mica, with jade and glass vessels at his side and carpet under his feet.

Another important item in the sale was an inscribed Mughal emerald personal seal set in a diamond encrusted gold bangle and bearing the name of Major Alexander Hannay, an East India Company officer. It sold for 90,000 pounds, well above its pre-sale estimate of 40,000 to 60,000 pounds.

The rectangular 18th century emerald is table-cut and was mounted in an enamelled gold bangle with a Persian inscription in the early 19th century. Major Alexander Hannay was in the service of the East India Company under William Hastings at the time when the company had transferred its trading role into a more military administrative one.

In 1778, Hannay left Hastings' service and entered that of the Nawab of Oudh. He managed the district of Gorakhpur, when during this period there were a number of disturbances as a result of his suspected oppression and misconduct. The bangle has passed down through the family to the present owner.


Car insurance: Driving up?

Third-party car insurance pool is too small

Motor insurance cover has two components: own damage and third-party insurance. While premium rates for own-damage cover were de-tariffed by the insurance regulator in 2007, IRDA still regulates third-party premium rates. In case of third-party insurance, the premium earned by all companies is pooled and the losses are split proportionately. IRDA’s audit of the third-party motor insurance pool (which compensates accident victims and is mandatory for all vehicle owners) revealed that the pool reserves have to be significantly augmented to meet the higher compensation amount that needs to be paid to victims of road accidents.

IRDA has stipulated that all general insurance companies increase these reserves in a phased manner over a period of three years. They should also restrict their expenditure in terms of bonuses and incentives and bear this requirement in mind when raising additional capital. IRDA has noticed that certain unhealthy competitive practices have emerged in the de-tariffed market and has instituted steps accordingly.

The regulator had recently revised third-party motor insurance premium and this new finding may need additional hike in premiums.


SC notices in money-laundering case against Lilawati Hospital

Petitioner alleges trustees have siphoned off money, seeks appropriate investigation; court issues notices to corporate affairs ministry, ED, CBDT and SEBI

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today issued notices to the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on a petition seeking a probe into the alleged money laundering by trustees of Mumbai's Lilawati Hospital.

Judges B Sudershan Reddy and SS Nijjar also sought a response from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), on a plea seeking investigation by appropriate agencies into the alleged tax evasion and money laundering by the trustees of the hospital.

The petition filed by Delhi resident Harsh Raghuvanshi names the trustees as Prabodh Mehta, Rashmi Mehta, Chetan Mehta and Bhavin Mehta.

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the notice should be issued and all the respondents should be called to disclose facts which may have come to their knowledge and the steps taken by them against the trustees.

The bench tagged the petition along with that of a petition filed by Mr Jethmalani and others in which direction has been sought for bringing back black money stashed by Indians in banks abroad.

In the latest petition, it has been alleged that the Mehtas have siphoned off money from the hospital and through the hawala route this has been deposited in banks abroad, including Mauritius. It has also been alleged that money has been deposited in Liechtenstein Bank.


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