An FIR has been registered against a former executive director of Air India for allegedly stealing a painting by renowned artist Jatin Das which was part of the airline’s collection, the police said. The FIR follows an internal inquiry conducted by Air India, which found that former executive director (ED) Rohita Jaidka removed the painting from Air India’s possession between 2004 and 2009. “The airline approached the police and an FIR was registered on November 11 against Jaidka and other unidentified persons,” the police said. The issue of the stolen painting came to light when Das, a Padma Bhushan awardee, wrote to the airline in June claiming that one of his paintings had gone missing and was available in the open market. The letter prompted Air India to launch an internal probe.
The horizontal oil painting is titled ‘Flying Apsara’. It was commissioned in 1991 by Air India. After the incident came to light, the painting was returned to the airline headquarters “in a torn condition” from a fake address in Noida. Air India in its complaint also pegs the value of the painting at Rs 25,00,000 “as per evaluations by an art historian”. Jatin Das has himself refused to attach a value to the piece of art.