The suit, worn by Modi during US President Barack Obama’s visit to India last month, is being auctioned in Gujarat’s diamond city.
Surat district collector Rajendra Kumar confirmed that the highest bid placed for the suit is Rs 1.25 crore so far, and that bids would continue till Friday afternoon.
Rajesh Juneja from Surat had bid Rs 1.21 crore for Modi’s suit and had emerged as the highest bidder yesterday. He had said yesterday that he would want to keep the suit as a souvenir and that he would match the bid if it goes up a little further. Juneja, however, had said that if the bid goes up steeply, then he might reconsider proceeding further.
Prior to Juneja’s bid of Rs 1.21 crore, the auction saw bids of Rs 11 lakh, Rs 51 lakh, Rs 1 crore and Rs 1.11 crore, respectively. The first bid was made for Rs 11 lakh by a Surat-based chartered accountant Pankaj. The very second bid yesterday had been for Rs 51 lakh, made by an estate dealer Raju Agarwal.
The Surat auction has seen participation from various realtors, diamond traders and industrialists.
The suit, which kicked up a political storm, is being auctioned along with 455 items that Modi had received as gifts during his nearly nine-month long tenure to generate funds for the Prime Minister’s ambitious ‘Clean Ganga Mission’.
Surat Municipal Commissioner Milind Toravane said, “The gift items belonging to Prime Minister Modi are a national treasure and the money generated from the auction will be utilised for the ‘Clean Ganga Mission’.”
Besides, gifts given to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel amounting to 361 items are also being auctioned. The proceeds from the auction of these items will go to the Mukhya Mantri Kanya Kelavani Nidhi – (Girl child welfare fund).
Displayed at Science Center gallery in Surat for three days, the items include cloths, showpieces and gift items made from glass, metal, silver, gold, wood and ceramics.