Auction of Nirav Modi’s assets raise Rs 53.45cr for Enforcement Directorate

A Rolls Royce car, paintings of famous artists MF Hussain and Amrita Sher-Gil, designer handbags and other luxury items belonging to fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi garnered Rs 53.45 crore in the second and final auction conducted on March 5.

Organised by Saffronart on behalf of the deputy director, Enforcement Directorate, the Spring Live Auction saw most lots surpassing their estimates. Together, both auctions — live and online — fetched Rs 53.45 crore.

The auction was expected to garner a minimum of Rs 40 crore from the around 40 items that the investigation agency had seized from Modi’s properties.

Before the live auction, the auction house had on March 3 and 4 organised a White Glove sale, which means every lot in an auction is sold successfully.

Legendary painter MF Hussain’s painting of ‘Battle of Ganga and Jamuna- Mahabharata 12’ was sold for Rs 13.44 crore, a world record for the artist.

Another masterpiece that saw an overwhelming response at the auction belonged to Amrita Sher-Gil was sold for Rs 15.7 crore. The rare 1935 painting ‘Boys with Lemons’ was auctioned for the first time.

VS Gaitonde’s tranquil 1972 painting, Manjit Bawa’s Untitled, and Raja Ravi Varma’s enigmatic portrait were among the top five artworks which were sold for Rs 9.52 crore, Rs 6.16 crore, and Rs 2.8 crore, respectively.

An untitled bronze sculpture by B Vithal was sold for Rs 19 lakh, making it the highest value achieved for a sculpture by the artist.

There were 25 luxury collectibles on sale at the live auction, of which Girard-Perregaux ‘Opera One’ Triple Bridge Tourbillon Wristwatch was sold for Rs 95.2 lakh. This is 30 times its estimated price, a first for a watch in a public auction.

Another wristwatch, Audemars Piguet ‘Jules Audemars Grand Complication’ Automatique, was sold Rs 78.4 lakh, more than four times its estimate.

A Van Cleef and Arpels’ 18K yellow gold and diamond evening bag sold for four times its estimate at Rs 20.16 lakh.

A Hermès Kelly Blue Atoll bag sold for Rs 17.9 lakh, more than three times its estimated price.

Two more Hermès Togo leather bags – a Gris Etain Birkin and an orange coloured Kelly — sold for more than five times their estimates at Rs 13.44 lakh and Rs 16.8 lakh, respectively.

Modi’s Rolls-Royce Ghost saw huge interest, finally selling for twice its estimate at Rs 1.68 crore.

Both the live and online auctions mark the first time that a professional auction house was appointed by the Directorate of Enforcement to conduct an auction of seized assets in India.

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Updated: March 6, 2020 — 6:12 am

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