Bombay HC dismisses plea to stay auction of NiMo’s paintings

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

Modi has Raja Ravi Varma and M. F. Husain paintings among others that will be sold.

Nirav Modi

Mumbai: The Bombay high court dismissed a petition filed to stay the auction of paintings owned by diamantaire Nirav Modi.

The court suggested that the petitioner company raise the issue before the appellate tribunal of income tax.  

A division bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Sarang Kotwal was hearing a petition filed by the Camelot company - seeking a stay on the order given by the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, (PMLA) court allowing the income tax department to sell expensive paintings of Nirav Modi.

Modi has Raja Ravi Varma and M. F. Husain paintings among others that will be sold.

Camelot Enterprises is a shell company in which Nirav Modi holds over 99 per cent shares.  

The court Monday rejected the petitioner's prayers saying Camelot had directly approached the high court instead of filing an appeal before the concerned appellate tribunal.

The bench also noted that by not interfering with the auction that was held on March 26 this year, it was not putting the petitioner through an “irreversible situation”. “The petitioner does not claim any particular attachment to any painting or artwork. It hasn't challenged their valuation,” the bench said.

The court made it clear saying that “In case the petitioner succeeds before the appellate authority, the amount recovered by the department through the auction can be returned to it with interest.”  

The petitioner during the hearing argued that the department had “failed” to serve, in a proper manner, notices, both for the assessment of dues and the auction.

It further said that of the 68 paintings put up for auction by the department, only 19 belonged to the company.  

Additional solicitor general Anil Singh, who appeared for the IT Department, argued that Camelot had merely made a statement denying ownership of all the paintings and artwork put up for auction.