The interrogation of international antique dealer Subash Chandra Kapoor during his seven days in police custody has yielded a wealth of information that is quite consequential, A.G. Pon Manickavel, DIG, Idol Wing, said here on Tuesday.
Kapoor was extradited from Germany in connection with the theft of 18 idols from a temple in Ariyalur district.
Asked whether there is a possibility of any more arrests in the Varadarajaperumal temple (Suthamalli) case, in which seven persons, including Kapoor, have been arrested, the DIG said it was “quite possible”.
He was talking to reporters after producing Kapoor before the Judicial Magistrate R. Rajkumar, who remanded him in judicial custody till August 7. He will be lodged in Puzhal prison.
The DIG pointed out that though the police were investigating two idol theft cases in Ariyalur district registered in 2008, the custody of Kapoor now was only in connection with the Suthamalli case, in which 18 idols of 11th century AD were stolen.
“Of the total 26 idols, we could so far recover only one.”
Mr. Manickavel said the police suspected that the rest could have already been smuggled to other countries.
Explaining the modus operandi, he said: “it was quite ingenious. The theft was committed by people in India and the idols were first sent to a country. Then they were sent to another and ultimately they could have reached the United States. We believe the ultimate destination was Kapoor, who was running an art gallery in New York for the past several years.”
To a pointed question, he said there was considerable evidence regarding the involvement of Kapoor in idol-lifting cases as he had visited India in 2005 and 2006.
Kapoor was identified by the Tamil Nadu police as early as 2009. “However we could get him extradited only now.”
Kapoor’s counsel S. Kingston Jerold told the media that though the police originally told him that he could be present when his client was interrogated, he was not permitted. The DIG said the defence lawyer was present when Kapoor was interrogated.