Fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi’s seized luxury assets and paintings will be auctioned within two months, Mumbai based Saffronart auctioneers revealed in a statement. Nirav Modi was arrested last year in London over allegations of the fraudulence worth $2 billion at state-run Punjab National Bank. Although he has denied the charges and continuously opposing his extradition from Britain to India.
The auction, sanctioned by court order, is part of efforts by the government to sell assets confiscated in criminal cases with the proceeds used to repay the debts to the banks. The Mumbai-based auctioneers Saffronart has been selected to host the sales on behalf of the Enforcement Directorate. While the first sale, a live auction, will be held on February 27 in Mumbai, the second will be an online sale on March 3-4.
Assets going under the hammer include 15 artworks by significant modern and contemporary Indian artists like a 1935 masterpiece by Amrita Sher-Gil which has never previously been auctioned and is estimated at ₹12-18 crore, a significant oil on canvas by M F Husain from his “Mahabharata” series, also estimated at ₹12-18 crore, a 1972 serene blue painting by V S Gaitonde estimated at ₹7-9 crore, and a vivid red depiction of Krishna by Manjit Bawa, estimated at ₹3-5 crores, among others.
Important watches going on sale include Jaeger Lecoultre Men’s “Reverso Gyrotourbillon 2” Limited Edition wristwatch, and a Gerrard Perregaux Men’s “Opera One” wristwatch.
Of more than 80 branded handbags included in the auction, several are from the Birkin and Kelly lines by luxury retailer Hermès and two cars – a Porsche Panamera and a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Saffronart statement said.
“We are diligently working with the ED to assess and evaluate each item and put together the catalogue for both the sales, which includes a distinguished line-up of artworks by the likes of Amrita Sher-Gil, M F Husain and V S Gaitonde,” the statement issued by the auction house said. Selected items from the upcoming auctions will be exhibited at the Saffronart gallery in The Oberoi, New Delhi during the India Art Fair later this month.
Indian tax authorities raised about $8 million in an auction conducted last year by Saffronart of rare oil paintings that were seized from Modi by the Income Tax department. 13 cars out of 15 seized cars were also auctioned, while the remaining two cars are being auctioned this time.