Police also seize over 1 kg of gold ingot obtained by melting idols

The Mangalore police aided by the Odisha police recovered three ancient Jain idols and one kg gold from a house in the city’s Sailashree Vihar area on Saturday.

The idols belonged to 10th and 11th century-old Jain shrines in Moodabidri, about 37 km from Mangalore, and were stolen a week ago. The antique value of the stolen idols were said to be a few hundred crores of rupees.

“We have seized three antique idols and more than one kg of gold which was believed to have been produced by melting idols. We have not arrested anybody in this connection,” Bhubaneswar Deputy Commissioner of Police Nitinjeet Singh told The Hindu .

Mr. Singh said, “A team of Mangalore team is camping in the city. They are furthering the investigation with our help.”

The inter-State thief was identified to be Santosh Das, alias Ghanashyam Das, who hailed from Itamati area of Nayagarh district. He had hidden the stolen items in his father-in-law’s house at Sailashree Vihar. Police also seized bank ATM cards registered at Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Nepal. Preliminary investigation indicated that a bank locker being operated by the miscreant in Karnataka contained one kg of gold.

City police sources said this was a major breakthrough in one of the biggest heists of antiques in the country. Thieves had decamped with 15 out of 52 precious Jain idols from Jain shrines in Moodabidri. The miscreants were said to have melted five idols and damaged seven others.