Bikram cars

Indian American yoga guru Bikram Choudhury is seen at a book signing event in New York in 2007. (Yanivnord/Wikimedia Commons photo)

In 2017, it was reported that Bikram Choudhury was forced to turn over his entire vintage car collection and all of his franchises to his former legal adviser, who alleged in a lawsuit that the Indian American ‘Hot Yoga’ founder sexually harassed her. But the whereabouts of the valuable cars was unknown.

The New York Post now reports that 22 of those high-end cars hidden in a Miami, Florida, warehouse in 2016, have been seized by authorities and will be auctioned off to pay some of Choudhury’s alleged sexual assault victims.

Authorities confirmed to the Post that they quietly seized the cars in December 2019, and the lot includes 12 Rolls Royces, five Bentleys, a 1966 Jaguar M10, a 1971 Pontiac Lemans, a Ford GT40, a 1969 Murano and a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1. The rest of the collection, which includes three Ferraris and six Mercedes-Benzes, is allegedly still at large, it reported.

The estimated sales value is said to range between $800,000 to $1.5 million, and the cars will be auctioned off March 20 and March 21 at Palm Beach International Raceway, the report said. According to court documents obtained by India-West in 2017, Choudhury’s driver, Kaylan “Sando” Panday, ordered some of the vehicles to be loaded onto a car carrier and transported out of the garage they were housed in.

In January 2016, Minakshi Jafa-Bodden, who worked as head of legal and international affairs at Choudhury’s Los Angeles yoga school from spring 2011 until March 2013, won a $7 million lawsuit against Choudhury. Jafa-Bodden alleged in her lawsuit that she was wrongly terminated by Choudhury when she refused to participate in a cover-up for a rape allegation by one of his students.

Moreover, Jafa-Bodden alleged that she, too, was sexually harassed by Choudhury, who – according to her lawsuit – touched her inappropriately and forced her to stay in a hotel suite with him.

Choudhury further alleged in her lawsuit that after she was wrongfully terminated by her employer, she faced deportation when Choudhury withdrew her work visa, and struggled financially as a single mother.

In 2017, the California State Court of Appeal dismissed a plea by Choudhury, remanding him to pay $7.3 million to her.

The proceeds, as per the Post, will be split among Jafa-Bodden, various creditors of Choudhury’s estates, and the owner of the warehouse where Choudhury stored the cars.

Arriving in Beverly Hills, Calif., from Kolkata in the early ‘70s, Choudhury quickly cultivated a celebrity following and built a global fitness empire that furnished him with extreme wealth. But by the 2010s, as numerous sexual abuse allegations emerged and stories of his aggressive, cult-like training environment surfaced, the lawsuits started to mount.

A warrant for his arrest was issued in May 2017 and there were conflicting reports on his whereabouts. ABC7 Eyewitness News reported Feb. 13 that Choudhury is trapped in Mexico.

The report added that Choudhury’s passport has been seized and that he failed to pay a $180,000 bill at the Princess Mundo Imperial Hotel.

Choudhury’s attorney told Eyewitness News that his passport was seized about a month ago, and they are in the process of gathering the funds necessary to pay off the hotel bill.

ABC7 Eyewitness News also reported that the 76-year-old is also accused of using his trademark name to market his teacher training sessions at the Acapulco resort in violation of court orders.

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