Nirav Modi’s seaside bungalow demolished using explosives
The sprawling seaside mansion of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi, accused in the USD 2 billion PNB fraud case, was demolished Friday using explosives, Raigad District Collector Vijay Suryawanshi said.
The district collector told PTI that it was controlled blasting.
The senior IAS official had issued the demolition orders after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) handed over the property situated in Raigad district, over 90 km from here.
On Tuesday, excavators were used to open up the pillars of the bungalow, called Roopanya, to make space for fixing the detonators. A special technical team was called to fix them.
The bungalow, which was built around 2009-2010, was infamous for lavish parties that Nirav Modi, the prime accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case, threw for friends and family.
The property was seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which has charged Modi with money laundering in the PNB fraud case, and the seized objects are expected to be auctioned to raise money.
The demolition, which started on January 25, is being taken up in accordance with a Bombay High Court order on public interest litigation filed by NGO Shamburaje Yuva Kranti, demanding action against various illegal bungalows, hotels and resorts violating the high tide and low tide zones in tiny villages dotting the beaches of Raigad.
The demolition was stopped since January 27, two days after the razing process started, as authorities wanted to remove the valuable fittings inside safely to ensure that they recover the maximum cost from the property.
Authorities had found expensive fittings, valuable cars and objets d’art that may be antique in nature in the bungalow, named Roopanya.
Roopanya had six bedrooms and an underground level with two swimming pools, a driveway, a terrace garden and coconut and suruchi trees on its premises.
According to a court order, among the objects seized by the authorities are a one-and-a-half tonne Buddha statue, wall hangings, an antique curtain that allegedly belonged to the Nizam of Hyderabad, chandeliers, and a Rexton RX 270 four-wheel drive.
The Rexton is registered under Nirav Modi’s company Firestar Diamond International Private Limited, which the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has probed for illegally diverting import duty-exempted cut and polished diamonds and pearls.
Furniture, air conditioners, and expensive fittings were also seized from the bungalow. The sanitary ware and sliding windows in the bungalow are imported, sources said.
(With agency inputs)