French vessel auctioned

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: French vessel Galathee, which was seized by the Coast Guard for conducting an unauthorised marine survey in the sea off Kochi coast, was auctioned on Thursday.

As many as 126 persons bid for the vessel, for which the upset price was fixed at Rs. 1 lakh.

At the end of bidding, Nazar of Mattanchery got the vessel for Rs. 7.25 lakh.

The vessel has been in the possession of the Coast Guard ever since it was seized in 1996.

The Ernakulam Chief Judicial Magistrate Court had earlier directed the Coast Guard and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is the investigating agency, to take steps to auction the vessel.

Accused absconding

All the three accused in the case, Francois Clavel and Philippe Elle, French nationals, and Capt. S.M. Furtado, a Goan, are absconding.

K.P. Satheesan, counsel for CBI, and Denu Joseph, counsel for Coast Guard, were present along with the Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) for the auction of the vessel..