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Nirav Modi & The Smuggling Of National Treasure | GreatGameIndia

Posted On: 18 Apr, 2018 Politics में

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Nirav Modi’s meteoric rise to the diamond boy however has a very peculiar golden story that begins with the auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s. His claim to fame came when he became the first Indian to feature on the cover of a Christie’s auction catalogue in 2010 for a Golconda diamond necklace that fetched Rs 16.29 crore at its auction in Hong Kong. Than in October 2012, another of his Riviere Diamond Necklace was sold for Rs 33.14 crore at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong after which in 2013 he made it to the Forbes list of billionaires – both items sold to buyers who do not wish to reveal their identity. This international diamond boy persona was enough to set him up to acquire thousands of crores of loans from Indian Banks, ofcourse with the age old heera-ghasu magic trick.


This golden story however was punctured from the very beginning by cases of inflated invoices, diamond smuggling, market manipulations, bribery, money laundering and round-tripping by Indian investigating agencies. In 2013, after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) found through an investigation that Gitanjali Gems Ltd was involved in market manipulation banned Choksi and 24 other entities after which the company underwent corporate debt restructuring in 2015 failing to service loans of Rs 5,000 crore. Investigation by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has shown that their account books were hugely inflated to secure these loans on the basis of dressed-up numbers. Following the investigation DRI slapped his companies mainly Star Diamond International Pvt Ltd, Radashir Jewellery Company Pvt Ltd, and Firestar International Pvt Ltd, for Rs 37.16 cr as duty, Rs 5.84 cr interest at 15% and Rs.5.57cr as penalty and interest – in all Rs 48.22 cr.


What most people fail to grasp is that this is not just one fraud, its a web of multiple scams – it’s a way of life. To better illustrate this point we mention here briefly about one of their adventures. In 2012, Tendai Biti, then Finance Minister of Zimbabwe disclosed that $300 million collected by their mineral development agencies had not been handed over to the state. Meanwhile, a stockpile of 2.5 million carats of diamonds, conservatively valued at $200 million, simply went missing. Further study concluded that most illicit revenue was raised through a “sophisticated price manipulation scheme” whereby diamonds were sold for knock-down prices within the legal monitoring system in Harare, then resold in trade centres like Dubai and India for twice the original price. In all, some $2 billion has been lost to the state since 2008. This amazing feat was achieved by the Indian diamond traders in collaboration with their Zimbabwean allies, the proceeds of which were channelled into the ‘parallel government’ loyal to famous dictator Robert Mugabe.


Such natural, national resource, in this case, Blood Diamonds from Zimbabwe mined by an army of brainwashed child slaves and procured through various imaginative ways by the diamond traders usually end up at world famous auction houses. Two such auction houses are Christie’s and Sotheby’s where the rare diamonds cut by Nirav Modi were auctioned, that propelled his career to worldwide acclaim. What is not known to most Indians because media never care to report it (even now) is that these auction houses were setup by the East India Company officers to sell looted heritage from British colonies to the European elites.


James Christie conducted his first auction on December 5th 1766, in the rooms of Pall Mall, London, where goods from India, China, Japan and Turkey were auctioned off. These items for auction in Christie’s also included relics, rare diamonds, stolen antiques and temple idols, manuscripts and other such artifacts. However, these are not the only things that Christie dealt with. He made a fortune selling English women on the streets of India. A fact immortalised by the famous British political caricaturist James Gillray in his hand-coloured etching “A sale of English-beauties, in the East Indies”.

‘A sale of English-beauties, in the East Indies’ by James Gillray, published by William Holland hand-coloured etching and aquatint, published 16 May 1786. © National Portrait Gallery, London


The print above shows a ship-load of English courtesans being sold on the streets of Calcutta by a thin and foppish auctioneer (a reference to the likes of James Christie). The women on sale are being inspected by Orientals. The central figure is a woman with her right hand held by an inspecting Indian and her left by the Englishman selling her, over whose head a little black boy holds a tall umbrella. Papers projecting from the Englishman’s pocket are inscribed ‘Instructions for the Governor General’. On the right a woman is being weighed in a scale opposite a barrel inscribed ‘Lack of Rupees’ which she slightly outweighs. On the far right next to the door of a warehouse are a number of weeping women. Over the door is inscribed, ‘Warehouse for unsaleable Goods from Europe NB: To be return’d by the next Ship’. We leave it to our keen readers to observe other amusing details in the print.


James Christie made a fortune selling the plunder of Bengal that laid the foundation of today’s world famous auction house of Christie’s. After Robert Clive took over Plassey, Mir Jafar was installed as a “puppet Nawab”, and the kingdom’s treasury was dutifully emptied by East India Company officers. In a series of campaigns, Clive also amassed large warehouses worth of treasures, from carpets to jewels, now known as the Plassey Plunder. This depleted the state exchequer to the extent that the economy of Bengal was completely shattered. The colonised territories were than used as experiments to understand the impacts of free market economics which resulted in the Great Bengal famine of 1770 where an estimated third of the population in the affected region of Bengal starved to death.


Did you know few of these items looted by Robert Clive from India were very recently in 2004 auctioned at Christie’s in London? When the grandchildren of Clive were short of money they sold few items from the loot in an auction at Christie’s that fetched them £4 million. Still they have warehouses full of the same Indian treasure now claimed by the Clives; and the way Brexit has plunged Britain into chaos they may need to sell it soon again for pocket-money.


Read full report at GreatGameIndia – Nirav Modi & The Smuggling Of National Treasure


Nirav Modi’s Punjab National Bank fraud is not just a banking scam. Its just a cherry on the tip of an iceberg, a systemic plunder of national and natural resources that is being going on since centuries and is still being continued with the involvement of world famous auction houses that played a major role in setting up his career.

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