Times are a-changing, watch to get pride of place in Cabinet Hall

Times are a-changing, watch to get pride of place in Cabinet Hall

From shame to fame

Times are a-changing, watch to  get pride of place in Cabinet Hall

The State Cabinet hall on the third floor of Vidhana Soudha is literally a feast for the eyes, thanks to the expensive gifts received by former chief ministers and ministers that are on display.

However, the Cabinet section has not maintained a record of the gifts. Besides, none of the gifts on display is valuated nor are there records such as bills of purchase, sources in the government said. Taking photographs of the gifts is prohibited. The Cabinet Hall is a restricted place.

The gifts are kept in glass boxes and showcases to protect them from dust and theft. An Omega watch that was received by late D Devaraj Urs as a gift when he was the chief minister is also on display in a small glass box. But the Cabinet section does not have details such as who gave the gift, its value and the date on which Urs handed ít over to the section.

Among expensive gifts on display is a Sudarshana Chakra (a gold replica of Lord Krishna’s legendary wheel weapon) received by former chief minister S M Krishna. Congress legislator Baburao Chinchansur, who is currently Textiles Minister, had presented it to Krishna when he was the chief minister.

An aesthetically carved ivory stool, a small sandalwood table and a silver letter box gifted by one of the Maharajas of Mysore also adorn the hall. BJP leader Shobha Karandlaje, when she was minister, had deposited a gold-coated replica of a fish which she had received as a gift with the Cabinet section.

Idols of deities, both metal and ivory, are also placed here. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s diamond-studded Hublot watch will be an eye-catching exhibit at the Cabinet hall, when it gets space here.

Siddaramaiah, who has been facing a political storm for having received the watch, on Wednesday handed over the costly timepiece to Assembly Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa, formally making it a government asset. The watch, according to Siddaramaiah, costs Rs 14 lakh, but opposition parties - the JD(S) and BJP - had been claiming that it costs Rs 70 lakh.

The cost varies depending on the number of diamond carats on it. Fake Hublot watches are also available in the black market for less than the company price. As no documentation of the gifts deposited here is carried out, it is not possible to find the source and value of the gifts. 

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