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    (File) Actress Naomi Watts and luxury jeweler Nirav Modi, left, attend a dinner to celebrate the opening of the first Nirav Modi boutique in the U.S. on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in New York

    Economic Fugitive Nirav Modi's Paintings Fetch Bounty For India

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    The famed globe-trotting jeweller defrauded state-owned banks of money amounting to $2 billion. He is in the custody of London police. India has already lodged a formal request to the UK for his extradition.

    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.

    READ MORE: Indian Fugitive's Luxury Jet Being Dismantled Before Going to Florida

    ​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.

    ​Indian newspaper The Hindu reports that it was for the first time in Indian history that someone's artwork had been auctioned by the government to recover dues. 

    ​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. 

    ​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.

    READ MORE: Fugitive Indian Diamond Tycoon Spotted in London, Faces Extradition – Report

    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.    

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    arrested, Indians, Auction, income tax, painting, Nirav Modi, India, United Kingdom, Mumbai, London
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