Mumbai-based Saffronart will auction Nirav Modi’s assets next month, which the Enforcement Directorate had seized from the diamantaire. More than 100 lots, including paintings, watches, handbags, and cars belonging to the fugitive diamond merchant, will go under the hammer in a live auction on February 27, and online sales on March 3 and 4 this year.
The businessman, who was accused in February 2018 of defrauding Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,700 crore, fled the country the same year. Currently in the UK, he faces extradition to India, with a trial scheduled for May.
This is the second time a government agency has roped in Saffronart to recover some of the money siphoned off by Nirav.
Amrita Sher-Gil, 1935, oil on canvas, 36 x 22 in (91.5 x 56 cm), estimate – Rs 12-18 crores. Image courtey: Saffronart
Last March, the online auctioneer raised Rs 54.84 crore by selling 55 lots from Nirav’s collection by such prized artists as Raja Ravi Varma and F N Souza, at the behest of the income-tax department.
Among the items to be sold is a figurative painting by Amrita Sher-Gil, dated 1935, which has never been auctioned and is expected to fetch Rs 12-18 crore. An oil-on-canvas from M F Husain’s series based on the epic Mahabharata is also estimated to bring in Rs 12-18 crore. Works by V S Gaitonde and Manjit Bawa will be part of the sale.
M F Husain – the battle of Ganga and Jamuna Mahabharata 12, 1972, oil on canvas, 74 x 107.75 in (188 x 273.5 cm), estimate Rs 12-18 crores. Image courtesy: Saffronart
The selection features 25 Swiss timepieces by the likes of Jaeger-LeCoultre and Girard-Perregaux, and some 80 handbags, including from the Birkin and Kelly lines — named after American actresses Grace Kelly Jane Birkin — owned by French high fashion company Hermès. The items are in the process of being catalogued. The total sale estimate will be announced in late January, says Saffronart.
Manjit Bawa, 1992, oil on canvas, 57.75 x 64.5 in (147 x 164 cm). estimate Rs 3-5 crores. Image courtesy: Saffronart
V S Gaitonde, oil on canvas, 54.25 x 39.5 in (138 x 100.5 cm). estimate – Rs 7-9 crores. Image courtesy: Saffronart