ED seeks nod to sell Nirav’s paintings, cars

Wednesday 04th September 2019 05:33 EDT

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed an application in the special court seeking permission to sell valuable articles recovered during raids from the home of absconding businessman Nirav Modi. According to the estimate made by the ED, the market value of the valuables seized from Modi’s residence, Samudra Mahal in Worli - including watches, jewellery and coins is over £46 mn. The ED claimed in its plea that the 173 paintings seized by the Income Tax Department were valued at over £60 mn, of which 55 were sold through an auction. ED also wants to sell Modi’s eight cars valued at £6 mn. “The movable properties are perishable and prone to speedy and natural decay and the expense of maintenance shall exceed the value if they are kept idle for long,” ED said in its plea.

“Since the paintings at Samudra Mahal are prone to speedy and natural decay if not kept in a climate-controlled condition, they have been shifted to a climate-controlled storage house for safe keeping for the time being…if the paintings are not sold within reasonable time, they are bound to lose their value over a period of time,” the ED plea stated. “..the expense of maintenance shall exceed the value of the same if they are kept for long period of time.”

Special judge V C Barde adjourned the plea to September 5 and directed notices to be issued to the accused. The investigating agency said the articles were attached through a February 25 order. It said that in July, the adjudicating authority, Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), New Delhi, had confirmed the order for attachment.

Non-bailable warrants

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sought the permission before the special court seeking attachment of properties of Nirav, his brother Neeshal and close aide Subhash Parab. A non-bailable warrant is pending against the three men, accused in the over USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam. The CBI, in its plea, said the three men left the country even before a complaint was filed in the case. It added that while Nirav was arrested in London and the extradition process is pending against him, the whereabouts of Nishal and Parab are unknown. “Since the accused have left the country in order to avoid execution of warrants issued by the court, it is hereby requested that proclamation and attachment of properties of the accused… may kindly be ordered against them, the plea stated seeking the attachment under the CrPC”, it said.

The court also heard arguments on a plea filed by the CBI, seeking polygraph and narco analysis tests on one of the accused, retired PNB deputy general manager Gokulnath Shetty. The agency had sought to conduct lie detector test on Shetty on the ground that he has not revealed the pecuniary advantage obtained by him in the alleged PNB scam by conniving with the other co-accused.

Shetty has objected to give his consent to the tests citing ill health. When the court called Shetty, he again refused to give consent. The apex court mandates the consent of the accused on whom the test is to be conducted. The court will decide on the plea next week.

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