Did Elizabeth Antony sell her painting to the government for 28 crores?
AK Antony, being the Defense Minister, bought a painting from Elizabeth Antony with government money of 28 crores, when there was no money for a bulletproof jacket, Elizabeth Antony, AK Antony’s wife.
An image of a canvas painting is shared with the claim that it was purchased by the Former Defence Minister, A.K. Antony from his wife Elizabeth Antony for 28 crores of government money. The text in the image is roughly translated as “The cost of this #painting is only 28 crore rupees. Former Defense Minister A.K. Antony had bought it during his tenure and that too with government money. Now also know that who is the artist who has spent his whole life making this amazing unique magical painting and what is the name of this artist? This is Elizabeth Antoine. Yes, the wife of the former Defense Minister. This shameless Defense Minister used to raise his hands at the time of the purchase of arms for the army. And there he snatches 28 crore rupees from the government to hang his own homemade painting in his office. *Still foolish people are calling Modi a thief”. This image is viral since 2018. Some of them can be seen here, here and here.
The posts in Hindi read as “ए के एटोँनी ने रक्षामंत्री रहते हुए एलीजाबेथ एटोनी से 28करोड की सरकारी पैसे से पेँटिग खरीदीजब बुलेटप्रूफ जैकेट के पैसे नही थे तब एलीजाबेथ एन्टोनी एके एन्टोनी की घरवाली।”
What is the truth?
When searching with relevant keywords we found an India Today article dated 12, December 2011 carrying the viral image mentioning that bankrupt Air India bought canvases painted by AK Antony’s wife, Elizabeth Antony for a cause. This article mentions that she was raising funds for her NGO, Navoothan Charitable Trust, which empowers women in cancer-affected families by equipping them with vocational skills.
However, a Facebook post dated 19, June 2012 by Elizabeth Antony mentions that the controversial painting circulated in news and social media was not sold to the Airport Authority of India and was sold to a private art collector for a figure of Rs. 95,000. And AAI brought 4 paintings for a total of Rs. 2.5 lakhs in the name of Navoothan Charitable Foundation and the proceeds are used entirely for the cancer cause.
Elizabeth Antony’s other Facebook post dated 15, August 2016 is found with an image of an RTI reply regarding the painting bought by the Airports Authority of India, Trivandrum International Airport. This RTI reply mentions that a total of 2 paintings were bought from Elizabeth Antony for a cost of Rs. 1.25 lakhs each adding to a total of Rs. 2.50 lakhs. The purchase was made from Navoothan Charitable Trust, New Delhi. The transaction is said to have been made on 27, May 2011.
She also mentioned in the post that it is a rumour that she sold two of her paintings for an exorbitant amount of Rs. 28 crores to the Airport Authority of India. She quoted the India Today article dated June 2011 as the source of the rumour.
It is found that the painting in the viral image was not sold by Elizabeth Antony to the Airports Authority of India for 28 crores as claimed. It is to be noted that AAI purchased her other paintings for a total of Rs. 2.50 lakhs.