Sleuths of the Idol Wing CID attached to the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) have directed the main suspect, Deenadayalan, from whose house over 34 idols were recovered on Tuesday, to appear before them by June 2. The seized idols will be given to the Icon Centre in Tiruvottiyur that is managed by the HR&CE department for safekeeping.
The officers have pasted a notice outside Deenadayalan’s house in Murrays Gate Road, Alwarpet, asking him to appear before the inspector of police, Idol Wing. “Note that there is a credible information as per Idol Wing CID crime no 2/2016 that you had committed a cognizable offence and hence you are directed to appear before the undersigned,” reads the notice.
The idol wing officers said that they checked Deenadayalan’s house again on Wednesday.
He said that a time extension may be given for Deenadayalan to surrender. “Only after we nab him can we extract details about where he was planning to send the idols and from which temples he stole them,” added the officer.
On Tuesday morning Idol Wing–CID officers unearthed the idol smuggling racket and arrested three persons - Maan Singh (55), Kumar (60) and Rajamani (60) - who had allegedly hid the stone idols in a house in Alwarpet.
The idol wing team raided the house of Deenadayalan in Murrays Gate Roadand seized idols worth between Rs. 10 and Rs. 40 crore. The total value of the idols could be above Rs. 50 core..
Deenadayalan is said to have been running an art gallery in Teynampet since 1995. “In 2002, he had smuggled across an Ardhanareeswarar idol and six other idols to a dealer in Mumbai and from there to the Art of the Past gallery in New York. From there, a few antiques were sent to galleries in Australia and New South Wales.
Meanwhile, Vijay Kumar, founder, India Pride Project, a volunteer group working towards bringing back stolen artefacts, said that Deenadayalan was involved in the smuggling of the statue of Ardhanareeswarar, along with one of Pratyangara Devi from the temple in Vridachalam. “They were smuggled to Australia. Ardhanari was returned, but India has not asked for the return of Pratyangara, which is in the national gallery of Australia, Canberra,” he said.