The 'mysterious buyer' of the legendary sword of Tipu Sultan at an auction in London in September last year was liquor baron Vijay Mallya.
"I am that mysterious buyer," Mallya told a press conference in Bangalore as he unveiled the sword taken away after the British assault on Srirangapatnam on May 4, 1799 which saw the end of the 'Tiger of Mysore.'
Mallya said he bought the majestic sword at an auction from the descendants of Major General Baird, who was presented with it through the then army commander Lt General Harris more than 200 years ago.
The timing of Mallya's disclosure -- six months after he bought it --
coming as it does a few days before the elections in Karnataka, has not gone unnoticed.
Mallya, however, insists it was not done with an eye on the polls.
"This is not political. It is personal. This is not an election meeting. I brought it from London 15 days back," the working president of Janata Party said, adding he paid around Rs 1.5 crore from his personal funds to buy the sword.
Mallya said he would keep the sword in safe custody.
Describing the sword as a "unique piece of history," he said he bought it to restore the "rightful legacy" to Karnataka as he "is a proud Kannadiga."