SNS & Agencies NEW YORK/NEW DELHI, March 5: After much confusion and considerable last-minute drama, five of Mahatma Gandhi's personal items, including his iconic wire-rim eye-glasses, were auctioned off tonight in New York for $1.8 million (Rs 9.3 crore). The buyer was liquor baron and Kingfisher Airlines chairman Mr Vijay Mallya. The auction went off despite the owner of the memorabilia, Mr James Otis, saying he had decided not to sell the items in the light of the controversy it had generated. “I never intended to create the controversy that this has created. I have decided not to sell Gandhi's items and I will request Antiquorum to call off the auction,” Mr Otis had told a Press conference tonight in New York, less than an hour before the items were due to go on the block. The personal items auctioned were Gandhi's metal-rimmed glasses, pocket watch, a pair of sandals and a plate and bowl. The collection had a reserve price of between $20,000 and $30,000. The prized memorabilia is expected to return to the country soon as the auctioneers, Antiquorum Auctioneers, hand over the articles to Mr Mallya within two weeks. Earlier today, the Indian government had rejected the conditions set by Mr James Otis to call off the sale, including that India shift priorities from military spending to healthcare, especially for the poor, but vowed to do “whatever it takes” to reclaim the memorabilia. The minister of state for external affairs Mr Anand Sharma said the conditions infringed on the country's sovereignty. “The government of India, representing the sovereign people of this republic, cannot enter into agreements where it involves specific areas of allocation of resources,” Mr Sharma said. Tourism minister Ms Ambika Soni said “I have the Prime Minister's instructions that we would not like to have these items be auctioned from one party to another, the bottom-line is to procure the memorabilia.” “We will offer whatever it takes to make sure these things come back to Gandhi's motherland,” said Ms Soni, adding, “We will enter the auction if required as a last resort” to bring back the items. On Tuesday the New Delhi High Court issued an injunction against the auction or sale of Gandhi’s belongings in question. Mr Otis had been demanding that India raise its spending on the poor from 1 percent of its GDP to 5 percent. He said his proposed deal to stop the action would have required India to substantially increase the proportion of the government budget spent on health care for the poor during the next decade. Also, India would promote events in 78 countries "to promote Gandhian non-violent resistance" and "encourage the study of Gandhian nonviolence." India had sought the help of the US State Department to thwart the sale.