The firm of Nirav Modi, the main accused in the $2 billion PNB scam case, has moved the Bombay High Court against a special court order which permitted the Income Tax Department to auction 68 paintings seized as part of its probe against the diamantaire. In a petition filed before the high court, the firm, Camelot Enterprises, has said such action is unlawful. According to the court website, the hearing of the petition is scheduled for April 1.
However, the petitioner is likely to seek an urgent hearing in the case, at an earlier date, since the auction is scheduled to begin on March 27.
Last week, a special court here permitted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to auction 11 luxury vehicles belonging to Modi.
The special court also allowed the Income Tax Department to auction the high value art collection of the diamantaire who is wanted by agencies on charges of tax evasion and money laundering.
According to authorities, the 68 paintings are valued at more than Rs 50 crore.
Modi was arrested in London last week. He was remanded in custody till March 29 by a court there.
Modi 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) (wilful 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.
Modi, the prime accused of India’s biggest banking scam, will be extradited to India much sooner and won’t be delayed like absconding liquor baron Vijay Mallya. According to a report, India will be able to bring back Modi within six months. And unlike Mallya, Modi can’t argue on the grounds of ‘human rights’ and political motivation.
A report in Times of India recently said that since the UK Courts had struck down the ‘human rights’ issue in Mallya’s hearing, it would give advantage to the India probe agencies. The report also said that the extensive and water-tight investigation papers by Indian agencies show enough proofs to meet the ‘dual criminality’ clause, which is required in the UK courts while dealing such cases.
From the fake Letters of Intent to bank transfers, the chargesheets by both the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate have detailed account of Modi’s modus operandi. The agencies have already seized the diamantaire’s properties in India worth Rs 1,873 crore.