SURAT: The scramble to possess the pinstriped monogrammed suit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi grew today with Surat-based diamond trader Mukesh Patel making a staggering bid of Rs 2.31 crore on the last day of the auction.
Patel had earlier offered Rs two crore, but later raised the bid through a written offer of Rs 2.31 crore.
"I had lost courage as the bidding amount kept on increasing. Then I talked to my business partner who showed readiness to make the bid of Rs 2.31 crore," said Patel, who came to the auction venue with his business partner Sanjay Movaliya.
"We will go ahead as per our capacity. We wish to contribute to the 'Clean Ganga' mission and that is the reason we have increased our bid," he said.
The auction at the Science Convention Centre will close at 5 PM today after which the articles will be handed over to the highest bidder.
Prior to Patel, a Haryana-based company's MD offered Rs 2.09 crore for the suit.
There have been 11 bids so far today, with four offers of more than Rs two crore to claim the suit that Modi wore at his meetings with US President Barack Obama during his India visit last month.
Prior to Mukesh Patel, Haryana-based LPS Bossard company's MD Rajesh Jain, through his representative Himanshu Parmar, made an offer of Rs 2.09 crore for the suit. This was the second bid by Jain, who had earlier offered to buy the suit for Rs 1.85 crore.
"The good cause of funds going to 'Clean Ganga' mission is the motivational factor for the bid. Besides, it is the responsibility of the industries to make bid for a good cause," Parmar said.
Earlier, another Surat-based diamond trader Hitesh Patel had offered Rs 2.08 crore, which was his third bid of the day after Rs 1.61 crore and Rs 1.75 crore.
"I have made the bid of Rs 2.08 crore for Modi suit. I don't know how further I will go, but as this fund will be utilised to clean river Ganga, whatever I give would be less," Hitesh said.
Earlier in the day, businessmen Lavji Badshah and Jayanti Aklara made a joint offer of Rs 1.81 crore to purchase the controversial suit.
Mumbai-based businessman Vipul Shah, the Managing Director of Asian Star, made a written bid of Rs 2.05 crore, while prior to him Mukesh Patel offered Rs two crore for the suit.
The other six bids made today were less than Rs two crores.
On the second day of auction yesterday, the highest bid was Rs 1.48 crore for the suit.
The bidding for the suit had started with Rs 11 lakh on the first day of auction.
The suit, that 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'.
Modi was photographed wearing the suit during his summit talks with Obama in Hyderabad House in Delhi on January 25 and at a joint media appearance that followed the meeting.
On closer inspection, photographs showed that the stripes were actually a monogram -- Narendra Damodardas Modi -- and embroidered on the fabric vertically.
The suit triggered a debate and Modi was slammed by his political opponents -- especially the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party -- for wearing an expensive suit that some reports claimed cost nearly Rs 10 lakh.
Amid the media hype surrounding the auction, Congress workers had yesterday protested outside the auction venue, calling the event an act of "self publicity" by Modi.