Surat, Feb 18: A Surat-based textile businessmen bid a whopping Rs 1.21 crore in an auction today for Prime Minister Narendra Modis controversial pinstripe monogrammed bandhgala suit that he wore during US President Barack Obama's visit to India last month.
Rajesh Juneja gave a written bid offering Rs.1.21 crore for Modi's navy blue suit which was the star attraction at the three-day auction which opened on Wednesday.
Earlier, NRI businessmen Viral Chowksi offered Rs 1.11 crore, while before him textile trader Suresh Aggarwal made an offer of Rs one crore for the two-piece suit.
The first bid was made for Rs 11 lakh by a Surat-based chartered accountant Pankaj, while few minutes later, second bid of Rs 51 lakh was made by Raju Agarwal, an estate dealer. "I have offered Rs.one crore. This is work of charity and when the Prime Minister is doing for a great cause like cleaning of Ganga, I decided to go ahead and buy the suit," said Suresh Aggarwal.
Giving a new dimension to the controversy, NRI Gujarati businessman Ramesh B Virani, who had participated in the Gujarat Vibrant Summit, said he had gifted the suit to Modi when had he gone to invite the Prime Minister for his son's wedding.
"At that time, he (Modi) told me that he has a very busy schedule ahead and also that he will be donating the suit. I said there is no problem with that. I told him that I want him to wear the suit on the day of my son's wedding as a blessing," he said.
The suit that created waves and kicked up a political storm was put for auction along with 455 items that Modi had received as gifts during his nearly nine-month long tenure to generate funds for the Prime Minister's ambitious 'Clean Ganga Mission'.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's suit, that he wore during his meeting with President Barack Obama last month, along with other 455 items that he received as gifts during his tenure as Prime Minister is being auctioned at the three-day event," Surat Municipal Commissioner Milind Toravane told PTI.
The gift items belonging to Prime Minister Modi is a national treasure and the money generated from the auction will be utilised for the 'Clean Ganga Mission', he added.
The event was organised at SMC's Science Convention Centre at city-lights road in Surat as the Prime Minister's Office(PMO) had decided to hold the auction in the city.
Modi during his chief ministerial tenure in Gujarat had initiated a trend to auction the gifts that he received in a year and it was donated to Kanya Kelavani Yojna for girl child education, he said.
Modi was photographed wearing the suit during his summit talks with Obama in Hyderabad House in Delhi on January 25 and at a joint media appearance that followed the meeting.