The Mumbai police crime branch has sought permission to prosecute Ajay Mafatlal, brother of industrialist Atulya Mafatlal, for filing a false complaint regarding theft of four paintings belonging to Mafatlal Dyes and Chemicals, the Bombay high court was told on Monday.
An affidavit filed by investigating officer Sudesh Ajgaonkar states that on February 22, the crime branch had filed a B-summary report in Ajay’s complaint after concluding that the case was false.
The affidavit is in connection with a company petition seeking winding up of Mafatlal Dyes and Chemicals Limited by its secured creditors. Acting on a report of the official liquidator, justice SJ Kathawalla had, on February13, sought to know from the crime branch the ownership of 43 paintings, which were allegedly stolen by Atulya’s wife Sheetal from the family’s home at Altamount Road.
On August 22, 2014, the crime branch had also sought to prosecute Sheetal for levelling allegations against three people, including one of her friends, of replacing 31 costly paintings with fake ones.
The affidavit said at least five of the 43 paintings are in custody of the director of JJ School of Arts. The investigation officer, however, expressed inability in ascertaining ownership of the remaining paintings.
Additional government pleader GW Mattos clarified that although the crime branch had got copy of the fixed asset inventory of the company, which reflects that it owned 33 paintings, ownership of most of the other artworks could not be ascertained because of absence of either the title of the painting or the name of the artist.
Acting on the official liquidators’ report, justice Kathawalla directed the director of JJ School of Arts not to hand over any paintings to any person without seeking prior permission of the court.
The court has now posted the matter for further hearing on March 23, with a direction to the official liquidator to submit another report after going through the affidavit filed by Ajgaonkar.