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WATCH: Subodh Gupta art installation, priceless racecar part of Sukesh’s ECR home decor?
Fine Italian marble, crystal chandeliers, mood lighting and rich wooden panelling - interiors that make even the city’s finest star hotel look a bit shabby was what the Enforcement Directorate authorities encountered when they entered the ECR house of the now infamous Sukesh Chandrasekhar.
Reports of the searches at his bungalow in Kanathur on Monday that yielded 16 luxury cars, 2 kilos of gold and Rs 82 lakh cash dominated the headlines, but the officials admit that they were taken aback by the level of luxury and opulence inside the bungalow. “What a house! Not even film stars who earn huge amounts of money have home interiors like this,” commented an ED official who was part of the many search teams which carried out raids for four days at the conman’s beach house in Chennai.
The handcrafted light fixtures only served to highlight several art objects, paintings and sculptures including a copper horse head and brass fixtures. However, the highlight of the room, parked right in the centre of the living space was a glossy race car. However, this is no ordinary car, and represents an iconic moment in racing history. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with 722 emblazoned on it, was raced during the famous Mille Miglia race of 1955 when Stirling Moss and teammate Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson started the race at 7:22. Hence the car’s moniker.
Also occupying a place of pride on the first floor is a bicycle installation that is identical to famous artist Subodh Gupta’s collection titled ‘Three Cows’. The glossy gold-plated cycles with milk containers have been part of the artist’s installations of commonplace Indian objects viewed as a social commentary of poverty and inequality. Of course, it’s ironic that Sukesh would choose such pieces for his house for, the value of the original runs into crores of rupees. The discovery of the art in Sukesh’s house raises several questions on import duties but when asked, one of the officials in charge of the investigation felt that most of the items could be only replicas.
The Enforcement Directorate has registered a money laundering case against Sukesh, and the agency believes that he could have extorted nearly Rs 200 crore from influential people despite being in jail. The latest ED case was based on a complaint from the wife of a jailed businessman who said that the fraudster posed as a law ministry official and promised to secure bail for her husband for a price. However, she complained to police and two persons who went to collect the money on behalf of Sukesh were arrested. The ED reportedly took up the case and in this connection undertook searches in Chennai for the last four days.
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