Antique panchaloha idols, believed to be more than 700 years old, were cut open by thieves who hoped to find gold inside. The idols of Sridevi, Bhoodevi and Chennakeshava had been stolen from Chennakeshava temple in Alur, Hassan district in November 2014.
Disappointed at not having found gold inside, Ravish Kumar (24) of Nelamangala, Lokesh Kumar (29) of Peenya and Lokesh (30) of Koratagere welded the idols together. They tried to sell the idols of Sridevi and Bhoodevi for Rs. 2 crore to a businessman in Sunkadakatte.
The trio were arrested in Bengaluru after the businessman alerted the police. Investigations revealed that two more men from Hassan were part of the heist and are in possession of the idol of Chennakeshava.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (West) Labhuram said that they had sent the idols to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
Mr. Labhuram added that the thieves, due to their misguided beliefs, had caused irreparable damage to the antique idols.
The idols are believed to be more than 700 years old