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Last Updated: Monday, 7 May 2007, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
Indian police move against artist
By Monica Chadha
BBC News, Mumbai

MF Husain
Mr Husain's work has caused much controversy
Police in India's financial capital Mumbai (Bombay) have started legal proceedings to seize property belonging to controversial artist MF Husain.

The order came after he failed to attend hearings in a court regarding an obscenity case filed against him.

Police say that steps are now being taken to pursue the order.

Mr Husain is one of India's best known artists. Last year he publicly apologised for a painting in which he depicted the country as a nude goddess.

Confiscation

He promised to withdraw the controversial painting from a charity auction, after Hindu nationalist groups accused him of hurting their religious sentiments.

Officers have now placed a notice outside the flat in the upmarket area of Mumbai where Mr Husain's son lives.

Painting by MF Husain
Mr Husain's work has been critically acclaimed

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Brijesh Singh, told the BBC website that steps are now being taken to compel the accused - now aged 91 and living abroad - to present himself in court.

He said that the authorities are taking steps to find details of properties owned by the artist so that they can begin the process of confiscating his assets.

Mr Husain's lawyer, Akhil Sibal, told the BBC News website that he only came to hear of the case through the media.

Obscenity cases

"We have not received any summons from a court as far as I am aware. Now that this has happened, we will take appropriate legal steps," Mr Sibal said.

"We will approach the Supreme Court very soon and file a petition asking for the transfer of this case to Delhi just like we had for other cases and then we'll see what happens."

Mr Husain's nude painting sparked off a series of obscenity cases that were registered against him in four different courts.

His legal team say that it would not be feasible for a man his age to travel to several different places.

Mr Husain is now thought to be living in the Middle East.

Despite the controversy, his paintings are much sought after and are auctioned for millions of dollars.

He has even made two Bollywood films, although both bombed at the box office.


SEE ALSO
Indian painter sorry for nude art
08 Feb 06 |  South Asia
Indian painter agrees $21m deal
10 Sep 04 |  South Asia
Smashing India's sexual taboos
29 Oct 02 |  Entertainment
In pictures: India's dying art
02 Jun 04 |  In Pictures
Storm over nude art in India
04 Sep 00 |  South Asia
Indian artist upsets sensibilities
08 Jul 98 |  South Asia

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