The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police on Thursday unearthed a smuggling racket of ancient idols with the arrest of five persons. The Special Enquiry branch officials of CCB seized four ancient ‘panchaloha' idols, estimated to be worth Rs. 1 crore in the international market, from them.
The accused were identified as Prashanth Shetty alias Pachcha (36) of Kapu in Suratkal, Anand Muddegowda (20) of Muthugadapalya near Kanakapur, Lakshmi Narasimha alias Madhu (31) of Banashankari, Madhukar Shetty (39) of Kondadi Keremane in Udupi and Sudhindra Shashidhar (35) of Haajari in Kundapura.
The arrested worked for a bar and restaurant in Banashankari, Assistant Commissioner of Police Nyama Gowda toldThe Hindu. “We got information that the persons would be coming to 11th Main in Jayanagar 5th Cross to sell the antique idols. We laid a trap.”
The idols were stolen from the Mahantha Math in Niluvagilu village in Chickmagalur district and a case had been registered at the Hariharapur Police Station.
The police said the suspects were planning to sell the idols for Rs. 70 lakh.
The CCB police plan to get the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to ascertain the exact age and value of the idols.
A case has been registered.