In a major breakthrough, police recovered the stolen idols after arresting four persons on Saturday.
According to police, the idols of Panduranga Swamy, Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Lakshmi Devi were stolen from a temple at Koilkuntla in the district on the intervening night of March 29 and 30.
Forming a team with Inspector D. Ramanjaneyulu, SIs B. Subbarayudu, O. Vijayabhaskar and C. Neelakanteswar, they traced a Maruthi Omni van to Ieeja in Mahabubnagar district after gathering information that it moved in the area with suspicious persons in it. The gang was about to transport the idols to Chennai. The police recovered all the four idols while being shifted to Chennai near Allagadda on April 12.
The idols, installed by Penugonda king Tirumala Devaraya in 15th century, has enormous antique value. The idols were stolen twice in the past which were seized by customs officials at Mumbai in 1964 and in Kadapa in 1998. The villagers said they might lose the idols forever if the same incident happened again. The arrested were identified as U. Sekhar, P. Bhadri, E. Chandrasekhar Goud and B. Veeresh.