Karachi: Suspected trader of fake artworks sent to lock-up
KARACHI: A man was remanded in police custody on Wednesday following his arrest by Clifton police at Plaza Shopping Mall for selling fake paintings and their “authentication letters.” Tariq Hussain`s arrest led to the recovery of around 15 fake art pieces of Jameel Naqash, Iqbal Mehdi, Sadequain, Souza and Picasso. An FIR (316/2008) was registered under Sections 468, 471 and 420 PPC at the Clifton police station. Police said they had acted on a tip-off provided by Farhan Mehdi, son of renowned artist Iqbal Mehdi, that Tariq was selling the fakes, including those of his father`s.
“I acted as a buyer from Dubai, telling Mr Husain of my requirement of such and such paintings. He provided the artworks along with authentication letters in a specified time”, ASP Clifton Asad Raza told Dawn, adding that Tariq also confessed that he had been selling such artworks to different galleries in the city and other parts of the country, as well as to collectors abroad, including Dubai. The police official cited two galleries — Louvre and Art Emporium — where the accused had sold some of his pieces.
One of the authentication letters confiscated by the police reads “This is to certify that painting of Souza 1961 is my property for two years, I have purchased the painting from one of my friends from India, Bombay in 2006. I have examined the painting and found it original work of an artist and surely is marvellous piece of art.”
The accused informed the police that he had a number of influential clients, said the ASP.
“Basically it`s a white collar crime and we are not treating the accused like a suspected criminal… perhaps he wanted to be an artist but became a copycat,” the ASP observed.
Police have obtained the remand of the accused till Dec 6 and associated his alleged accomplice, Raheel, in the investigation.
“Ideally, we should go after dubious art galleries where such fakes have been sold by the accused but this could open up a Pandora`s box,” the officer remarked.