New Delhi– An internal committee of Air India is preparing a list of former employees who are suspected of siphoning-off artwork, an official with the airline said on Friday.

According to the official, who did not wished to be named, the airline will “not take any action if its artworks are returned”, however an internal committee has started to prepare a list of missing artwork and suspected former employees who might have them in their possession.

The airline had started to lend out artwork of its vast collection to top executives in the past with the rider that the same be returned back to the company up on retirement.

“No one knows when did the practice of lending out artwork began, or who started it,” the official said.

The development comes after an unknown person returned a painting by eminent artist Jatin Das which was a part of Air India’s collection.

The painting was returned to the airline via a courier addressed to Air India’s Chairman and Managing Director Ashwani Lohani around two weeks back.

“We received a courier around two weeks back. It was addressed to the CMD. The package contained the missing painting by Jatin Das,” the official said.

The airline has initiated an extensive investigation on the matter and suspected former officials of the airline have been questioned.

On July 6, Air India said that it has initiated an inquiry to verify allegation about theft of paintings from its vast collection.

The investigation was initiated after eminent artist had written to Lohani to inform him about the missing painting which was available on the black market.

“Jatin Das has recently written a letter (June 24) to the CMD (Air India) asking for photographs and details of the paintings in our collection that were made by him,” the airline had said in a statement on July 6. (IANS)