New Delhi–The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will soon start the auction of 173 paintings and 11 vehicles of fugitive diamantaire Nirav Modi after it obtained permission from a special court in Mumbai on Wednesday.

The development comes after Nirav Modi was arrested in London’s Holborn on Tuesday afternoon in connection with Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case and was on Wednesday sent to Metropolitan Police custody till March 29 after being denied bail.

The ED will put the 173 paintings of the 48-year-old businessman on sale which are valued at Rs 57.72 crore and eleven vehicles that include a Rolls Royce, Porsche, Mercedes and Toyota Fortuner.

The auction is expected to be held on March 26.

The ED has till date attached properties worth Rs 4,765 crore of Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Group. Both left India days before the case came to light in January 2018.

The court has also issued a non-bailable warrant against his wife Ami Modi, a US national, for being the beneficiary of alleged purchase of two apartments at Central Park in New York using $30 million laundered money, which her husband had obtained fraudulently from thee PNB through Letters of Undertaking (LoU) and Foreign Letters of Credit (FLCs). The ED recently filed a supplementary charge sheet against Ami.

The court also allowed the Income Tax Department to sell another 68 paintings seized by it as part of its separate probe against the absconding diamantaire.

Nirav Modi’s extradition proceedings are likely to start soon.

Nirav Modi and Choksi are under probe by both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation. The ED filed money laundering cases against them and others on February 15, 2018 on the basis of an FIR registered by the CBI. (IANS)

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