The income tax (I-T) department officials currently have an additional responsibility on their hands — guarding the paintings they seized from GTL Ltd, a network services company, and its owner Manoj Tirodkar.
Senior officials have decided to keep round-the-clock watch on the 250 paintings, kept at Colaba, as they fear the originals could be replaced with copies if left unattended.
The I-T department seized the paintings from Tirodkar’s Napean Sea Road residence and GTL Ltd’s Colaba premises. The department estimates the value of these paintings to be more than Rs 200 crore. “We will keep officials to guard the paintings till their valuation is done by experts,” said a senior I-T official, adding that once the valuation is done and experts certify the paintings, the premises will be sealed.
The I-T officials don’t want to transport the paintings to another location as there’s a risk of damage. “They are all expensive works and transporting them would not be safe,” the official added.
Officials claim that among the seized paintings are the works of prominent artists such as Picasso, Souza, Raja Ravi Varma, SH Raza, MF Husain, VS Gaitonde, Tyeb Mehta, Laxman Shreshtha and Rabindranath Tagore.
While one of the two Picasso paintings seized is an original, the other is a copy, officials said.
Officials have found a list of paintings in a computer at Tirodkar’s house. They are now checking how many of these paintings were imported and when.
Meanwhile, GTL Ltd on Thursday agreed to give a voluntary disclosure of Rs 500 crore worth of concealed income. The I-T department, however, is yet to accept the disclosure as the raids have not ended. “We may get evidence for more concealed income,” said the official.
The department has also seized Rs 16 crore in cash. “We expect to seize more cash as we are yet to open two lockers,” said the official, adding that the raids would continue on Friday.