There are 87 lots for sale, including a couple of six-carat diamonds worth Rs 6-7 lakh.

Raja Simhan T.E.

Chennai, March 17

The Chennai Customs, for the first time, is auctioning through the Internet seized diamonds, precious stones and semi precious stones worth Rs 4 crore. It is also for the first time that the department is conducting a diamond auction since 1978, according to a department official.

Some of the diamonds were seized in the late 1970s and 80s, and were auctioned after clearance of court cases. The e-auction started on March 14 and will end on March 18. There are 87 lots for sale, including a couple of six-carat diamonds worth Rs 6-7 lakh.

With Western India being a major market for diamonds, Chennai Customs earlier used to send seized diamonds to Mumbai for auction by Mumbai Customs. However, recently the Central Board of Customs and Excise authorised Chennai Customs to sell the stones through public auction. The Board has allowed Chennai Customs to auction stones sent in by neighbouring customs and excise centres too.

The Chennai Customs Web site features pictures of the diamonds on auction. Bidders are required to provide a demand draft for Rs 1 lakh.

Bids received would be scrutinised by a pricing committee comprising senior department officials and a jewellery appraiser, the official said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 18, 2006)
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