As news had broken yesterday of Priyanka Gandhi having sold a painting to Yes Bank’s Rana Kapoor for Rs. 2 crore, there had been much outrage — some had wondered about the links between the Gandhis and founder of the beleaguered bank, and others had expressed anger over clandestine financial dealings between politicians and top corporate honchos. But the question most people wanted to know the most was — which was the painting that Priyanka Gandhi had sold to Rana Kapoor?
It now turns out that the painting in question was a portrait of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, and had been painted by MF Hussain. Republic TV reports that the painting had been gifted by Hussain to the Congress several years ago. In 2010, Priyanka Gandhi had sold the painting to Rana Kapoor for Rs. 2 crore.
There are several questions that are now being raised over the sale of the painting. Republic TV reports that the painting had been presented by MF Hussain to the Congress party, so questions are being raised as to how Priyanka Gandhi pocketed the proceeds of the paintings by selling it in her personal capacity. There are also questions whether an independent assessment of the value of the painting was done before it was sold. And people also wonder whether the painting represented a quid-pro-quo — the Congress was in power in 2010 when the painting was sold, and Rana Kapoor was then the founder of the fledgling Yes Bank. Was it merely Kapoor’s interest in art that prompted him to buy the painting from the most powerful family in the country, or was it something else?