United Breweries chairman Vijay Mallya has refuted the government's claim that he had bought Mahatma Gandhi's belongings in New York at its behest, saying the decision was his own.
''I bid on my own as Vijay Mallya. I was acting independently. Nobody from the government asked me to bid for Bapu's articles,'' Mallya told TV channels.
Culture minister Ambika Soni had earlier claimed that the government had acted through Mallya in acquiring the Gandhi memorabilia.
"We have been able to procure them through the services of Mallya who was in touch with us," Ambika Soni told reporters hours after Mallya bid $1.8 million to acquire the items.
''I don't know what Soni has said, but I acted on my own. I haven't heard from her after the auction. A minute before the auction, I got a call from Indian consulate and I told them I was going ahead with the bid on my own,'' Mallya added.
Mallya had earlier brought to India the legendary Sword of Tipu Sultan in a similar auction bid.
''I didn't do this to generate publicity. It was my personal decision and I had sent my representative Tony Bedi to New York in advance to clear the legal hurdles, if any, with Antiquorum Auctioneers. Government couldn't have known this,'' he said.