Nirav Modi's paintings sold for Rs 54.84 cr in auction
Mumbai, Mar 26: Nirav Modi's extensive art collection, that was seized by the government was sold for Rs 54.84 crores that will be handed over to the Income-Tax department. 55 out of total 68 paintings in his possession were sold on Tuesday.
2 paintings of Nirav Modi's collection-Untitled oil on canvas(pic 1) by VS Gaitonde sold for Rs 22 cr;oil on canvas depicting Maharaja of Tranvancore&his younger brother welcoming Richard Temple-Grenville,3rd Duke of Buckingham(pic 2) sold for Rs 14 crore.
Auctioneers say the sale is the first of its kind in a country where tax authorities have usually auctioned property, gold and luxury items, but not art.
After a court order allowing the auction to take place, tax authorities appointed professional auction house Saffronart.
Meanwhile, the firm of Nirav Modi, had moved the Bombay High Court against a special court order which permitted the Income Tax Department to auction 68 paintings seized as part of its probe against the diamantaire.
In a petition filed before the high court, the firm, Camelot Enterprises, has said such action is unlawful. However, the petitioner is likely to seek an urgent hearing in the case, at an earlier date, since the auction is scheduled to begin on March 27.
Last week, a special court permitted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to auction 11 luxury vehicles belonging to Modi.
The special court also allowed the Income Tax Department to auction the high value art collection of the diamantaire who is wanted by agencies on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.
Modi was arrested in London last week. He was remanded in custody till March 29 by a court there. Modi and his uncle, Mehul Choksi, another accused in the case, had left India before the fraud came to light in January 2018.
The Income Tax Department had last month provisionally attached 29 properties and 105 bank accounts of Modi, his family members and firms as part of its probe.
The taxman had also filed a charge sheet against Modi before the special court under sections 276 C (1) (wilful attempt to evade tax), 277 A (false statement in verification), 278 B (offences by companies) and 278 E (presumption as to culpable mental state) of the Income Tax Act, 196