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Akademi stick

New Delhi, Feb. 15: Lalit Kala Akademi secretary Sudhakar Sharma was suspended on corruption charges yesterday, hours after the central art body’s reins passed to new chairman Kalyan K. Chakravarti who had earlier indicted the official in a probe.

The latest action came less than two years after Sharma’s dismissal, later reversed by the culture ministry, by then chairman Ashok Vajpayee based on Chakravarti’s report.

Sharma’s suspension seems to have split the Akademi into two camps. “This time it will be difficult to reinstate him. Unlike last time when he was summarily dismissed, this time he has been suspended and an inquiry ordered,” said a senior functionary.

Others expressed reservations. “Had he (Chakravarti) followed the due process, it would have been better. It (suspension) smacks of personal grouse,” eminent artist K.R. Subanna, the Akademi’s acting chairman till recently, said.

The charges against Sharma include failure to maintain the Akademi’s paintings, some of which are missing. These include the works of Jamini Roy, M.F. Husain and J. Swaminathan.