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Sunday Read: The Story of Sheetal Mafatlal and Her Fake 100 cr. Art Theft

This is one incredible story, from the Mumbaiwalla stable. Of the trendy Sheetal Mafatlal and how she stole family-owned paintings, got them faked, and implicated her friends for having stolen the originals. (HT @venkatananth)

For the house proud mistress, Sheetal Mafatlal, it was just one amongst an impressive collection signed mostly by Raza, Husain, Souza, Sabavala andAnjolie Ela Menon. Collectively valued at nearly Rs 100 crore, they were a constant source of pride and the few remaining reminders of the past glory of the House of Mafatlal. The only ‘family silver’ worth anything substantial, so to speak.

Today Bawa’s much admired Goat is lying forlorn in humble wrapping under police custody with the rest of them, but still commands a strategic advantage – it’s one of the key pieces of evidence which unlocked the tangled knots in a case being described as the most audacious art heist in India.

In a twist that was three years in the making, Sheetal Mafatlal now faces criminal prosecution for an elaborately planned theft which deviously put the needle of suspicion on her friend and transport magnate Areef Patel – incidentally, he’d risked his reputation to help her move and hide the paintings after Sheetal’s step daughter Marushka filed an FIR against her at the Gamdevi police station for removing the paintings from Mafatlal Bungalow.

And another piece by Business Standard.

This story has drama of unimaginable proportions – Sheetal got into the Mafatlal family by marrying the person her sister was first engaged to. Sheetal had then been arrested for trying to smuggle in Rs. 50 lakh worth jewellery. She’s now absconded.

Sometimes, you don’t need those TV serials. Real life is good enough.

  • catbert says:

    Mafatlal’s have a daughter who feared that she will be denied her share in the family property so she tried to get her sex changed via a surgical operation. You may google for more details.

  • AP says:

    Such scams cannot be pulled off without active co-operation of the police department and lawyers. More than two dozen domestic violence complaints and cross-complaints were filed by various family members.
    Sheetal Mafatlal had accused Ajay Mafatlal (Atulya Mafatlal’s sister turned brother) of attempting to throw acid on her and what not.
    As they say, the first generation builds it, the second keeps it and third destroys it.
    The page 3 industrialist crowd is on the verge of bankruptcy (Yash Birla, Vijay Mallya, Mafatlals, ADAG group etc). The low profile business families are going great guns – Kumarmangalam Birla, Uday Kotak, Premjis.