Defence seeks interpreter as accused does not know Tamil

The commencement of the trial of Subhash Chandra Kapoor, US-based antiquities dealer lodged in the Puzhal Prison in Chennai, for alleged involvement in idols thefts in Tamil Nadu got further delayed on Friday.

The Judicial Magistrate Court at Jayamkondam near Tiruchi adjourned the case by two weeks. The defence had filed a petition seeking an official interpreter on the grounds that Kapoor does not follow Tamil.

The prosecution, however, maintained that there was no need for an interpreter, as his counsel knew English and Tamil.

The Magistrate posted the case for February 21 for passing orders on the petition.

Amid tight security, the accused person was brought to the court from Chennai and taken back to the Puzhal Prison.

The trial in the case pertains to theft of 26 idols from two temples in Ariyalur district in Tamil Nadu. The charge against 65-year-old Kapoor is that he had conspired to commit burglary, organised and funded the offence, besides abetting smuggling. He is also alleged to have sold stolen idols to various museums abroad.

Following a Red Corner Notice issued by the Interpol, Kapoor was arrested and extradited from Germany in 2012. Charges were framed against him in December 2013.

Although he was alleged to have has been associated with thefts from temples in Suthamalli and Sripuranthan, charges were framed only with respect to the Suthamalli case where 18 idols were stolen. The prosecution has listed over 50 witnesses.

A.G. Ponn Manickavel, DIG, Idol Wing, told The Hindu that the Tamil Nadu police have “wealth of evidence of high probative force” in support of the case.

“We are awaiting responses from the U.S. and Australian authorities regarding the letter rogatory sent to them. We are also in the process of sending a letter to the authorities in Singapore regarding a stolen idol there.”

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