It is suspected to have been stolen from Ariyalur temple
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities recently sent the photograph of an 800-year-old Siva idol, believed to be the Chandikeshwara statue stolen from a temple in Ariyalur district, to the Idol Wing CID investigating the case of arrested antique dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor.
Sources with the Idol Wing CID said the Siva icon was among those seized from Kapoor’s storage facility in New York, which was raided by ICE special agents two months ago.
The ICE agents have also sent information on the statue size, weight and other details.
The image of Chandikeshwara (a form of Siva) in a standing posture has a strong similarity to the picture of the idol of the Sundareswara temple in Ariyalur, available with the French Institute of Pondicherry.
Investigators have sought expert opinion on the photograph. “We want to find the authenticity and origin of the idol seized. If proven, it will be crucial evidence in the idol theft cases against Kapoor,” the officer said.
Earlier, the investigating agency had received a compact disc from Interpol with photographs and information on idols suspected to have been smuggled by Kapoor.
The Idol Wing CID released a photograph of the seized idol and requested temple priests or authorities to identify the idol and provide information.
Informants can contact Idol Wing CID at 96000 43442 or 94421 23841.