The Bombay High Court has asked the Income Tax Department to file a reply to the plea by a Nirav Modi-controlled firm opposing the auction of 68 paintings belonging to him. Camelot Enterprises had challenged the auction in a plea calling it unlawful. The tax department has been asked to furnish its reply by April 1.
Earlier this month, a special court in Mumbai had permitted the Income Tax (I-T) department to auction 68 paintings owned by Nirav Modi and his shell firm, Camelot Enterprises. Camelot had approached the Bombay High Court claiming that only 19 of the 68 paintings listed for auction belonged to it and thus the auction should be cancelled.
The I-T department had auctioned the artwork yesterday for Rs 59.37 crore, out which it will get Rs 54.84 crore. The most expensive artwork of the lot, a painting by Raja Ravi Varma, was sold for Rs 14 crore. This was the first time that a government department sold artworks via the auction-route involving a professional art house.
Nirav Modi was arrested last week in London and produced before the Westminster Magistrates Court. He was denied bail. The fugitive businessman will remain in custody till March 29, after which he will be produced before the bench of Judge Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate of Westminster Court.
A joint team from Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate are expected to arrive in London with the necessary documents to build a stronger case against Nirav Modi. The team is expected to include Joint Director-level officers from both the agencies.