The e-auction of 13 vehicles belonging to fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi is currently underway in Mumbai. In March, a special PMLA court allowed authorities to sell the cars, including six luxury rides, and 178 paintings owned by Modi. The proceeds will help recover a portion of the amount defrauded in the Rs 13,000-crore PNB scam, which has Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi as the prime suspects.
A few weeks ago, the Income Tax Department auctioned off Modi's art collection to recover close to Rs 55 crore. This time round, the starting bid prices for the cars add up to a little over Rs 3 crore. The contract for selling the cars has been given to Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited (MSTC), a government-run e-commerce company.
The most expensive wheels under the hammer are Modi's Rolls Royce Ghost and a Porsche Panamera. In addition, the list includes two Mercedes Benz models, a BMW, four Toyota vehicles, three Honda cars - including a Brio - and a Skoda Superb Elegance. A few of the above reportedly boast VIP number plates.
According to The Economic Times, the very silver-coloured Rolls, costing over Rs 5 crore at the time, was once used to ferry around the diamantaire's three lap dogs. The car hasn't been driven in a year and is currently parked at Samudra Mahal, an upscale residential tower in Worli, Mumbai, where Modi owned a duplex home. In fact, total of nine cars on the list are parked in this same address, while the rest are spread out over two other locations in the city - Grosvenor House, Peddar Road, and Spring Tower in Dadar East.
They were made available to interested parties for visual check over April 21, 22 and 23, but the officials had strictly forbidden any internal inspection. "It's too risky to allow each potential buyer to poke around inside the car. They will have to buy it on an as-is basis," an ED official involved with the auction told the daily.
"After the bidding, no complaint about the condition of the vehicle shall be entertained," MSTC stated among the many terms and conditions. The auction closes at 4 pm today.
(Edited by Sushmita Choudhury Agarwal)