Mumbai– Finding no takers for fugitive diamantaire Nirav D. Modi’s one property, its price has been slashed and the DRT has ordered its re-auction, along with certain other prime assets, in one of the cases pertaining to the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

Last week, the DRT-I Recovery Officer Ajeet Tripathi put up the HCL House in Marol for e-auction — plus three other lots of properties — to recover a portion of the outstanding of a staggering Rs 22,13,16,39,411.

When it went on the block in September 2022, the unsold HCL House, comprising the entire building with the land, carried a reserve price tag of Rs 52 crore, which has now been slashed to Rs 40 crore, as per the DRT-I announcement.

Besides, the DRT-I has put on the auction block other assets of Modi, including Offices No. 2001-2002 on the 20th floor of the posh Peninsula Park B in Lower Parel with a reserve price of Rs 66 crore, plus over Rs 1.72 crore outstanding maintenance dues till December 2021.

Another property of Modi, the 6th floor of the Mafatlal Centre in Nariman Point along with four parking slots will also go under the e-hammer with a reserve price of Rs 62 crore, besides unpaid maintenance charges for five years coming to over Rs 1.17 crore till May 2022.

Modi’s huge residential 4-BHK flat in Grosvenor House at Peddar Road is going up for auction sale with a reserve price of Rs 15.87 crore, further details of which are not available. Modi also has another address in the prestigious Al Shera Towers, Dubai.

The encumbrances or outstandings on HCL House and Grosvenor House are not known and all the properties shall be auctioned off on the basis of ‘as is where is’ and ‘as is what is’.

The e-auction is scheduled for February 10 — a week after the DRT-I ordered the sale of Modi’s two tony flats in the YOOPUNE housing scheme in Pune, valued at a total of Rs 18 crore, on February 3.

In the fresh auction list concerning PNB versus Firestar International Ltd, the names figuring are Modi and his group companies like Bentley Properties Pvt. Ltd., MAK Business Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., ANM Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., NDM Enterprises Pvt. Ltd., Neeshal Trading Pvt. Ltd. — all operating from a common address at Opera House.

The other companies are: Firestone Trading Pvt. Ltd., Paundra Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. and Radashir Jewellery Co. Ltd. — all registered in a single address at the Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) in Bandra Kurla Complex.

The February 3 and 10 e-auctions may help the PNB and a consortium of around 15 banks to recover a miniscule portion of massive dues, pending since the past five years after the country’s mega-banking scam was admitted by these banks in February 2018.

After the PNB’s complaint on the scam, estimated at over Rs 14,000 crore, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) registered the first offence in January 2018 — but by then Modi, his wife Ami and other accused had already fled India.

Later, other probe agencies like Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax Department (ITD) entered the picture targeting the two prime accused — Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul C. Choksi — but both had flown the coop well before the scam erupted to shake the roots of the Indian banking sector.

Later it came to light that Modi was holed up in London and Choksi has cosily settled as a citizen of Antigua & Barbuda Isles, West Indies, and both are awaiting their extradition to India — expectedly soon.

In the past, the ED-ITD had auctioned off certain movable and immovable assets — like properties, expensive paintings, artefacts, high-end vehicles, etc., — to recover small amounts of its dues.

“Proclamation of Sale under Rules 38, 52(2) of the Second Schedule of the Income Tax Act, 1961, read with the Recovery of Debts Due to Bank and Financial Institutions Act, 1993,” said the latest DRT-I order of January 5. (IANS)