New Delhi (Sputnik): Indian absconder and celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi's painting collection has fetched Rs 54.84 crores ($7.5 million) for the national exchequer of India after it was auctioned by income tax authorities.
The economic fugitive is accused of fraud and money laundering charges amounting to $2 billion. He defrauded the state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) using fake letters of guarantee for multiple dubious business transactions.
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 cr(Pics courtesy- Saffron Art) pic.twitter.com/RNxq69G9Fu— ANI (@ANI) March 26, 2019
The Income Tax department on Tuesday sold 55 of the 68 modern Indian art paintings that were once part of Nirav Modi's personal collection. The paintings were put under the hammer in Mumbai as part of the Spring Live auction of Modern and Contemporary Art. Even before the bid, there was speculation in the media as to the amount that these famed paintings would fetch.
Nirav Modi's art collection to go under hammer in Mumbai today. One of the marquee pieces is a a painting by Raja Ravi Varma, with estimated price of Rs 12 to 18 crores (close to between $1,764,710 — 2,647,060)— Janhavee Moole (@janhavee) March 26, 2019
Picture courtesy- Saffronart pic.twitter.com/Mfh9mar2xo
The highest bid was made for a painting by V.S. Gaitonde, which was sold for Rs 22 crore ($3.18 million approx.). Another one, a work by Raja Ravi Varma, was sold for Rs 14 crore ($2.02 million approx.), reports Indian news agency PTI.
Apart from the Gaitonde and Varma paintings, a number of other Chinese paintings were also sold in the auction. The book value of the total 68 paintings that constituted Nirav Modi's private collection was 57 crores ($8.26 million approx.) and the auctioning off of 55 paintings fetched 54.85 crores ($7.5 million approx.). 13 paintings remain unsold, the PTI report added.
It was a special court in Mumbai that allowed the Income Tax Department to proceed with the auction to recover dues from the fugitive. Nirav Modi is currently in local police custody in London. In July 2018, the Indian authorities made a formal request to the UK Home ministry for his extradition.