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Indian Baron Buys Gandhi's Goods

Vijay Mallya, the Indian liquor baron behind Kingfisher beer, scored Gandhi's glasses, sandals, food bowl, and other items yesterday for a mere $2.1 million after beating out a phone bidder, reportedly based in London. Working through his proxy, Toni Bedi, president of the U.S. branch of United Breweries Holdings Ltd, Mallya won the items for $1.8 million plus a commission. "This belongs to India," Bedi said. James Otis, the collector who put the items up for sale caused a kerfuffle the day before the auction when he said he'd withdraw the items if India increased its anti-poverty spending. India's culture minister said he'd been instructed to do "whatever possible" to repatriate the items, although the Indian government avoided bidding on the lot to avoid commercializing the objects. Tushar Gandhi, the leader's great grandson, said he was proud that an Indian bought the lot.