MSU probe panel finds professor guilty of selling artworks | Vadodara News

VADODARA: The three member committee instituted by M S University probeing theft charges against professor Akeel Ahmed found the professor guilty. Ahmed had allegedly sold off sculptures of master artists to city-based gallery owner Hitesh Rana without the knowledge of their creators.

On Tuesday, the committee headed by syndicate member Mukund Shah conducted the final meeting of the panel after which it finalised the inquiry report against Ahmed, who is professor in sculpture department of the famed Faculty of Fine Arts.

The committee has, however, not recommended any action against Ahmed. “We have left it to the wisdom of syndicate members who will decide over the next course of action,” said a member of the committee.

Ahmed had earlier admitted in writing that he had sold off the sculptures at Rs 5 lakh to Rana. The sculptures were made by veteran artists Dhruva Mistry, Jyoti Bhatt and late Mahendra Pandya.

It was Mistry, who had raised the issue before the university authorities after Rana showed him his sculpture. The probe panel which had registered Mistry’s complaint and grilled Ahmed, had also registered statements of Rana apart from two lecturers of sculpture department – Shanta Sarvaiya and Rutvij Mistry.

The two lecturers had admitted to have seen Mistry’s art work in Ahmed’s cabin. But the sculpture had gone missing after VadFest which was held in 2015, the lecturers had told the panel.

The panel, however, could not record statement of artist Jyoti Bhatt, who had earlier expressed his inability to appear before the committee.

After the controversy, the three disputed sculptures were returned to the university. Rana had handed over the sculptures to Ahmed, who in turn had handed over the sculptures to the inquiry committee.

While returning the sculptures to Ahmed, Rana also collected Rs 5 lakh in form of post dated cheques from Ahmed.

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