Minister of State for Youth Services and Fisheries K. Abhayachandra Jain has appealed to the government to refer the theft of 12 archeologically important statues from the Siddhanta Darshan Block of a Jain Basadi at Moodbidri to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Mr. Jain told reporters here on Wednesday that he had made a formal request in this regard to Law Minister T.B. Jayachandra. In turn, the Law Minister had forwarded this request to Home Minister K.J. George with a note asking him to examine it. Mr. Jain said the Chhattisgarh police chief Ramnivas, who had been contacted by the Karnataka police for tracing the stolen idols, had written to his Karnataka counterpart requesting him to handover the matter to the CBI as the issue involved people in different States and countries.

The Minister said Santosh Das, who was involved in the theft of these antique idols, had sold them to some diamond merchants in Chhattisgarh. The Karnataka police were struggling to recover the idols as these merchants were powerful and had international connections.

Only three of the 12 idols had been recovered so far, he said, and added that the main intention behind seeking a CBI probe was to trace the international link to the idol theft and also to recover the stolen antiques.

The Minister announced that the government was about to recommence disbursal of subsidised kerosene of 150 litres a month for country boats in the coastal region.