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Hitler's car in India, not in Nepal palace
June 20, 2008 21:51 IST
A Mercedes purportedly gifted by Adolf Hitler [Images] to ousted King Gyanendra's grandfather is not in the Narayanhiti place as claimed by Nepal officials, but was taken to India in 1943, a former Rana prime minister's daughter has claimed, sparking a fresh controversy over royal assets.
The German dictator had donated an olive-green Daimler-Benz not to King Tribhuvan, the titular head, but to the Rana dynasty Prime Minister Juddha Shumsher Rana in 1939 to win over the Gorkha soldiers to his side during World War II, according to Juddha Shumsher's only surviving daughter Janak Rajya Laxmi Shah, 92.
Officials deputed by the government to acquire the royal assets in the palace, which was declared a museum following the ouster of Gyanendra, had earlier claimed that they had found the car gifted by Hitler to Tribhuvan, Gyanendra's grandfather, and it would be put on display.
Shah said that her father Juddha Shumsher, who was the seventh Rana Prime Minister, left to settle in Dehradun, India after ruling for 13 years in 1945 and took the car with him.
"He (Juddha) took the Daimler-Benz along with him," Shah told the Kathmandu Post daily, adding she inherited the car after the death of her father.
Nepal's history has been marred by a power struggle between the kings of Shah dynasty and its Rana prime ministers who ruled through generations. Tribhuvan had to flee to India with his son Mahendra and grandson Birendra in November 1950 following a power struggle with the then prime minister Mohan shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana.
Shah claimed she is still owner of the car as she has not transferred the ownership to anybody else.
"When I decided to return to Nepal in 1966 I left the car to my brother Sashi Shumsher Rana," said Shah, a Dayanand Anglo Vedic College law graduate. Shah said she used the car while studying and living in Dehradun for 17 years.
She claims that it was the first car to enter Nepal as there was no motorable road at that time. The car was brought to Kathmandu via India on the back of porters, she claimed.
Gyanedra, who lost his throne last month and was forced to vacate the palace, is at the centre of another controversy over cars with the government asking him and his son Paras to return eight vehicles.
Gyanendra has four extra vehicles besides one car and one jeep that the government has provided to him while moving out of the Narayanhiti Palace.
Similarly, his son Paras has allegedly tajken possession of four government cars and a few lap tops brought from the Nepal Trust for Nature Conservation, of whiche he was the president in the past.