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Auction of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi luxury cars fetch Rs 3.28 crore

Twelve cars belonging to diamantaire Nirav Modi and his fugitive uncle Mehul Choksi were auctioned off on Thursday, at prices ranging from Rs 2.7 lakh to Rs 1.33 crore.

world Updated: Apr 26, 2019 07:51 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
HIndustan TImes, Mumbai
Nirav Modi,Mehul Choksi,Car auction
Nirav Modi(Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint file photo)

Twelve cars belonging to diamantaire Nirav Modi and his fugitive uncle Mehul Choksi were auctioned off on Thursday, at prices ranging from Rs 2.7 lakh to Rs 1.33 crore.

The cars, most of them high-end models, were seized by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) after it charged Nirav Modi with money-laundering in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case. Some cars have special VIP numbers, and their starting price was decided based on their age and extent of use. The auction fetched the government exchequer Rs 3.28 crore in all.

“Eleven cars belonging to the Nirav Modi group and two belonging to Mehul Choksi were put up for an e-auction from 12pm to 4pm,” said a high-ranking ED officier. “We extended the auction to 5.30pm as bids kept flowing in,” the officer said.

Only one car, a Toyota (E4) Corolla Altis 1.8 G, registered in 2011 and listed at a starting price of Rs 3.50 lakh, did not get any bids and went unsold. A Rolls Royce Ghost, a British luxury car driven 24,439 km with a premium registration number (MH-01-AS-8), was sold for Rs 1.33 crore. It was registered nine years ago and received Rs 10,000 more than the starting price. A Porsche Panamera, driven 30,326km, and registered with a premium number (MH-01-AT-5) in 2010, was sold for Rs 54 lakh. A Mercedes Benz GL 350 sold almost Rs 16 lakh over the starting price. The car’s starting price was Rs 37.80 lakh but it sold for Rs 53.76 lakh. The other cars sold on Thursday include a Mercedes Benz CLS 350, two Honda Brios, a Toyota Innova 2.5, a Honda CR-V and a BMW X1, among others. The e-auction was conducted by the Mumbai office of the Metal Scrap Trade Corporation Limited, a state-owned e-commerce company. Bidders were allowed to inspect vehicles from April 21 to April 23, but not allowed test drives. The ED will now evaluate the bids before the cars are given to the buyers. “It was an e-auction. Anybody was free to participate with no manual intervention in the bidding process,” said a source privy to the auctioning.

Nirav Modi is currently lodged in the Wandsworth jail in the United Kingdom. He has been denied bail twice by the Westminster Magistrates Court, after the prosecution pointed out that he could flee the UK if released, influence witnesses and destroy evidence. The next hearing in his case is on Friday.

First Published: Apr 25, 2019 22:43 IST