In a major setback for fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, who is currently lodged in a U.K. prison, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday paved the way for Enforcement Directorate (ED) to go ahead and auction his assets. This comes after the Supreme Court had allowed Bombay High Court to make a decision on this matter. This would enable the agency to auction 15 rare paintings owned by Nirav Modi’s Rohin Trust.
The Bombay High Court also rejected the plea filed by Nirav Modi’s son Rohin Modi. He had challenged the ED’s decision to auction the paintings seized after a thorough investigation. “This is undoubtedly a big boost. A thorough procedure was followed to ensure that it stands the scrutiny of the court,” said an ED official.
The paintings were seized during the searches that were carried out by ED in connection with Rs 13,000 crore fraud involving Punjab National Bank. The auction of paintings, which includes paintings by MF Hussain, is scheduled to take place on March 5.
This would enable the agency to recover the proceeds of crime. The petition was filed on the grounds that the painting does not belong to Nirav Modi and is a property of Rohin Trust. ED had, however, challenged the plea on the grounds that credible evidence was gathered by the agency to indicate that these were bought from the proceeds of crime.
Around 112 assets are being auctioned by Saffronart on behalf of the ED. The auctioning would take place live through an online portal. One of the major attractions of this auction is a 1935 painting by Amrita Sher-Gil titled 'Boys with Lemons'. Apart from this, the other attractions include a 1972 painting by M F Hussain and another painting by Raja Ravi Varma. The cost of each painting, according to experts could be over Rs 10 crore.
Nirav Modi’s diamond watch collection, his favourite luxury cars including the Rolls Royce Ghost and Porsche Panamera S are also being auctioned by the financial probe agency.