Kohinoor Was Surrendered, Not Gifted to Britain, Says ASI

The ASI reply contradicts Indian government’s stand which said before the Supreme Court in 2016 that Kohinoor was gifted by a Sikh ruler to Britain.


The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has said that the Kohinoor diamond was “surrendered” to Queen Victoria of England by the Maharaja of Lahore. The ASI’s reply is in stark contrast to the stand that the Indian government had taken when it told the Supreme Court that Kohinoor was “gifted” to East India Company by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the Times of India reported.

The Government of India had said in its response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Supreme Court in 2016 that the Kohinoor was “neither stolen nor forcibly taken” by British but it was a gift from India to the British Queen. It said that the Duleep Singh, son of Ranjit Singh gave the Kohinoor to the British in 1849 after losing the second Anglo-Sikh war.

The new revelation came to light after RTI activist Rohit Sabharwal filed an RTI application to Prime Minister Office (PMO) asking for the grounds on which the Kohinoor was handed over to British. He also asked if the Kohinoor was “gifted” to the UK or there was any other reason behind the transfer, the report said.

The PMO transferred the application to Archeological Survey of India, as the matter came under them.

The publication quoted the reply given by ASI which said, “As per the records, the Lahore Treaty held between Lord Dalhousie and Maharaja Duleep Singh in 1849, the Kohinoor diamond was surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.”

The ASI also quoted an excerpt of the treaty, which says, “The gem called Kohinoor which was taken from the Shah-Suja-Ul-Mulk by Maharaja Ranjeet Singh shall be surrendered by the Maharaja of Lahore to the Queen of England.”

The 105-carat Kohinoor diamond is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world and it is currently stored in the Tower of London, as part of the British Crown Jewels. Many Indians have been demanding for long that the Kohinoor be returned to the country it was taken from during the British era.

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