The auction items included Gandhi's metal- rimmed glasses, pocket watch, a pair of sandals and a plate and bowl. The collection had a reserve price of between $20,000 and $30,000. Bidding began at $20,000 and rose to the final price within seven minutes.
Tony Bedi, a representative for Mallya, a liquor and airline tycoon and a former MP, placed the winning bid at New York's Antiquorum Auctioneers auction house despite protests in India and an injunction from Delhi High Court seeking to halt the sale.
However, the US justice department has asked the Antiquorum Auctioneers to hold the lot for two weeks pending a resolution between the new owner, the US and Indian govt.
The bidders included a dozen people in the room, 30 people on the phone, and about two dozen people who submitted written bids. The second highest bid was a $1.75 million bid submitted online from Britain, said the auction house.
The last time a piece of Indian heritage went under the hammer, Mallya coughed up Rs 1.5 crore for the Sword of Tipu Sultan and got it back to India. The legendary sword of Tipu Sultan was at an auction in London in Sept 2004 which was bought by liquor baron Vijay Mallya for around Rs 1.5 crore from his personal funds.