I-T department earns Rs 59.37 crore selling Nirav Modi's artworks

WION Web Team Mumbai, Maharashtra, India Mar 26, 2019, 10.43 PM(IST)

The Maharaja of Travancore and his younger brother welcoming Richard Temple-Grenville, 3rd Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, Governor-General of Madras (1875-80), on his official visit to Trivandrum in 1880. (An Artwork by Raja Ravi Varma) Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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Nirav Modi, whose diamonds have sparkled on Hollywood stars, is one of the prime accused in a $2 billion loan fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank. Modi denies the charges and believes they are politically motivated.

Absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi's artworks fetch Rs 59.37 crore at an auction by the income tax department Tuesday evening in Mumbai.

In first of its kind auction in India, where tax authorities have usually auctioned property, gold and luxury items, but not art, 68 paintings were to be sold.

The Income Tax Department appointed professional auction house Saffronart after a special court allowed it to sell artworks seized from the fugitive businessman.

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) (willful 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, 1961.

(With inputs from agencies)