The Judicial Magistrate Court here on Friday dismissed a petition filed by the U.S.-based antiquities dealer Subhash Chandra Kapoor, arrested on the charge of smuggling idols, seeking an official interpreter to translate all proceedings in Tamil.
Dismissing the petition, Magistrate Muthumurugan posted the next hearing for March 7.
Kapoor, against whom charges have been framed in the theft of 20 idols from the Suthamalli temple in Ariyalur district, was produced before the court amid tight police escort. He was taken back to the Central Prison at Puzhal in Chennai once the case was posted for next hearing.
The examination of prosecution witnesses in the Suthamalli temple idols theft case was likely to commence on March 7. The prosecution had opposed Kapoor’s petition seeking an official interpreter on the grounds that Kapoor’s counsel knew English and Tamil and hence there was no need for an interpreter.
In addition to Kapoor, the Tamil Nadu Idol Wing CID Police has named six other persons as accused in the Suthamalli temple idols theft case.
The case has been booked under various Indian Penal Code sections including 380 (2) (burglary in place of worship), 465 (punishment for forgery), 411 (receiving and retention of stolen property) and 120 (b) (conspiracy).
The charge against 65-year-old Kapoor is that he not only conspired the burglary, but also organised and funded the crime, besides abetting smuggling of stolen idols and illegal export of stolen idols from India to the U.S. via Hong Kong and London.
Kapoor, who is in jail since July 2012 after he was extradited from Germany, is the main accused in the theft of eight idols from the Sripuranthan temple in Ariyalur district.
The Tamil Nadu Idol Wing CID Police recovered a stolen panchaloha idol of Lord Vinayaka with amman seated on the lap, said the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Idol Wing CID, Tamil Nadu, A.G. Pon Manickavel.
An antiquity declaration certificate as per section 24 of Antiquity and Art Treasures Act of 1972 had been obtained from the Archaeological Survey of India for the idol and filed as a document to be relied upon by the prosecution for trial, he said.