15 idols were stolen from a 177-year-old Jain temple in Yega Nemili village in Villupuram district last month

With the arrest of four persons here on Thursday, the Idol Wing of the Economic Offences Wing solved the theft of 15 panchaloha idols from a 177-year-old Jain temple in Yega Nemili village in Villupuram district last month.

The four who orchestrated the theft, were nabbed with 11 idols at the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus. The robbery took place on the night of August 29, police sources said.

The incident came to light next morning when a devotee found the idols missing from the temple and alerted temple priest Loganathan. The Gingee police had registered a case and the investigations were handed over to the EOW Idol Wing.

“We got specific information that the suspects will be coming to the Koyambedu bus terminus to meet a buyer on Thursday evening. So we sent a team. Four men standing near the north gate with gunny bags were rounded up. We inspected the bags that contained 11 antique metal idols,” said S. Selvaraj, Deputy Superintendant of Police, Idol Wing. They were identified as Sundarajan (25), Bhagyaraj (24), Murugan (25) and Shanmugam (28), all from Tindivanam.

When questioned, they confessed to their involvement in the theft. The accused also led the police team to a field in the village where four more idols were buried. The four have been remanded to custody and sent to prison.

The worth of the seized idols was Rs. 30 lakh, police sources added.