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A steal at US$60: car once owned by India's most wanted man

[MUMBAI] An Indian government auctioneer will sell on Wednesday farmland, a restaurant and even a car which officials say once belonged to the country's most wanted man, fugitive Mumbai mafia boss Dawood Ibrahim.

Indian police have been unable to trace him for decades, but for as little as 4,000 rupees (S$84.50), bidders can snap up a car he purportedly owned - a 15-year-old green Hyundai Accent sedan now parked in a working-class Mumbai suburb.

The properties, confiscated more than a decade ago, make up only a tiny fraction of Ibrahim's assets. Some have already been put up for sale but remain mostly unwanted, as buyers stay away.

On Wednesday, a crowd had gathered outside a down-at-heel south Mumbai hotel where the auction was taking place, kept outside by tight security.

Ibrahim, reported to be hiding in neighbouring Pakistan, runs D Company, a crime syndicate Indian authorities accuse of engaging in murder, extortion and weapon-smuggling.

He is also accused of financing Islamist militant groups and of masterminding bomb and grenade attacks in Mumbai in March 1993 that killed 257 people and wounded more than 700.

Ibrahim fled India in the 1980s and has since eluded the authorities, although the arrest last month of a former partner in Indonesia - Rajendra Nikalje, known as Chhota Rajan - is thought to be part of a strategy to hunt him down.

The Indian government has battled for years to confiscate properties held not only by Ibrahim but by his relatives in Mumbai, and has been held up by repeated appeals.