Mangalore police gets 10-day custody of Santosh Das, the prime accused in the theft of 15 idols from Jain Basadi in Moodbidri; say he is involved in 38 cases.

The city police on Monday took custody of Santosh Das, the prime accused in the theft of 15 idols from Jain Basadi in Moodbidri, for ten days. He was arrested in Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.

The police produced Das before the local magistrate on Monday after bringing him to the city in a flight from Visakhapatnam. He will be taken to Chattisgarh for recovery of seven idols. In a raid held on July 13, the Mangalore police had recovered three idols from the house of Das’s father-in-law Digambar Mohanty in Bhubaneswar. They had also recovered gold ingots of 1 kg. Police said Das admitted to making these ingots by melting five idols in Raipur. Police said they were not trying to recover the remaining idols.

As many as 15 precious idols were stolen from the Siddhanta Darshan Block on the premises of Guru Basadi, which is one of the 18 Basadis of Jain Math in Moodbidri on July 5. The police with the assistance of Orissa police arrested Das’s wife Diptimayee Mohanty and her father Digambar Mohanthy. The Moodbidri Magistrate court has rejected the bail applications filed by the two

The police said they received information about Das moving in a bus from Bhubaneswar to Bangalore on July 27. They caught Das in Srikakulam.

The investigation so far has revealed Das’s alleged involvement in 14 theft cases in Andhra Pradesh in 2005, 14 thefts in Orissa between 1998 and 2004 and one theft case in Maharashtra. The police said he Das was allegedly involved in nine cases of theft in Karnataka post-2009. He reportedly stole 4 kg of silver from a jewellery shop in Karkala a few months ago. Das has attempted to steal articles from Gokarnanatheshwara Temple in Kudroli, the police said.

The police said Das gave them a slip three times between 2009 and now.

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