Indira Gandhi ordered a gold hunt in 1976; Pak sought share Indrani Bagchi, TNN | Oct 25, 2013, 02.09 AM IST Link :-http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Indira-Gandhi-ordered-a-gold-hunt-in-1976-Pak-sought-share/articleshow/24680280.cms NEW DELHI: The last time the Indian government, led by the redoubtable Indira Gandhi, went looking for hidden gold among private property, Pakistan also jumped on to the bandwagon. In 1976, at the height of the Emergency, Indira ordered the Indian Army to march off to look for hidden treasure in Jaigarh fort, which was still a property of the Jaipur royal family. Legend had it that Man Singh had stashed away huge amounts of treasure from some of his campaigns. That legend persisted after India's independence. With Gayatri Devi imprisoned during Emergency, Indira thought it fit to search Jaipur royal properties for the treasure. The correspondence finds space in an invaluable work of history, India-Pakistan Relations (1947-2007), edited by Avtar Singh Bhasin, released earlier this year and is mandatory reading for any student of history. Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, then prime minister of Pakistan, heard about the treasure hunt and decided Pakistan should not be denied its share. In a letter to Indira on August 11, 1976, Bhutto said, "As your expedition of locating the treasure proceeds, I would urge you to remain cognizant of Pakistan's claim to its due share of this wealth. This is an asset which was not known at the time of partition between the two successor states (then called dominions) of India and Pakistan. "However, the order that was enforced with the agreement of both governments did not fail to provide that any property or benefits can be shared between them where such sharing is just and equitable. The historical provenance of this treasure, regardless of the location of its physical discovery, makes it the joint patrimony of our two countries and I am confident that, with an approach based on equity, we will dis-countenance any usurpation and amicably arrive at a formula for the division between us." Indira did not dignify Bhutto's claim with a response until December of that year. By then, the Army division sent to unearth the treasure returned empty-handed after three months of fruitless search. Responding to Bhutto on December 31, 1976, Indira said, "I had asked our legal experts to give careful consideration to the claim you made on behalf of Pakistan. They are of the clear opinion that the claim has no legal basis. Incidentally, the treasure has turned out to be non-existent." Bhutto complimented Indira on abolishing the old royalty, saying, "Both our countries have taken the same view of the rights of the princely order and, with complete justification, abolished it as an appendage or association of the colonial regime. I am certain that no one can maintain the argument that your government's action involves confiscation of the private property of any individual or dynasty." The Pakistani PM justified asking for a share of the riches. "It is clear that the treasure is a historical inheritance of the subcontinent which was bequeathed to it by its pre-colonial sovereignties, especially the Mughal emperors in coalition with their Rajput allies. That, before or during the anarchy which ravaged the subcontinent and invited foreign domination, these assets were misappropriated and hoarded by a particular warlord has no bearing whatsoever on their legal or moral ownership." Indira, however, would have none of it.