BREAKING NEWS Ayub Quadri steps down over artefact scam

BREAKING NEWS Ayub Quadri steps down over artefact scam

Dhaka, Dec 26 ( – Cultural affairs adviser Ayub Quadri has resigned.

Talking to by phone Wednesday night, Quadri said he turned in his resignation letter to the Cabinet Division at 4:30 pm—addressed to President Iajuddin Ahmed.

Another adviser, Mainul Hosein, told that the resignation letter had not been accepted yet. "I am a bit surprised (by Quadri’s resignation)," he said.

Quadri said: "I have said in my letter that I made the decision on personal grounds."

"I hinted at resignation when I talked to reporters the other day."

"Although the artefacts went missing from a secure place like airport, I strongly felt I should step down as the head of the cultural affairs ministry," he said.

The resignation, first during the Fakhruddin Ahmed-led emergency administration, came days after two Vishnu statues went missing from Zia International Airport.

The consignment of the rare artefacts and relics was en route to France for an exhibition at Guimet Museum under a deal between the governments.

The adviser had made broader hints of resignation Monday when he spoke to reporters on the theft of the artefacts.

Quadri had said he must take the responsibility for the lost artefacts as the matter involves his office.

The interim government Tuesday cancelled the second consignment of artefacts and relics to Paris over the scam, taking into account what it said was public sentiment.

The terracotta statues of Vishnu, preserver of the universe in Hindu mythology, were stolen sometime after late Friday. The matter came to light Saturday.

The statues, insured for a total of $64,740, are believed to be about 1,500 years old.

The government opened a probe into the theft but the inquiry yielded no results yet.

The stolen statues were among the 143 artefacts that the government agreed to send to France for the display.

The first consignment of 42 went to Paris on Dec 1.

The decision to send the artefacts was taken amid a series of protests by art lovers, archaeologists and historians, who had feared the "precious objects" would not be returned.

The government’s change of mind has apparently upset Guimet Museum authorities.

Vincent Lefèvre, a Guimet Museum curator, told BBC World Service that Bangladesh failed to fulfil its duty in line with the official agreement signed between the two countries. hours

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