Idol Wing to trace 70 accused persons against whom non-bailable warrants are pending

Over 68 stolen idols were traced in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Singapore and the Idol Wing is yet to bring them back to the State, says Sailesh Kumar Yadav

Updated - January 27, 2023 12:26 am IST

Published - January 26, 2023 09:44 pm IST - CHENNAI

Shailesh Kumar Yadav

Shailesh Kumar Yadav

Teams of Idol Wing CID Police have been pursuing to trace and nab 70 persons who face non-bailable warrants on charges of being involved in theft of idols and artefacts.  

Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP) Shailesh Kumar Yadav, who took over recently as Idol Wing CID (IWCID) chief, said: “There are non-bailable warrants pending against 70 persons who had been involved in antique smuggling or theft in the cases booked by us. We are actively pursuing them to trace and bring them before the court of law and prosecute them.” 

He told The Hindu that his priority would be to recover idols stolen several years ago and later traced recently to various art galleries, museums and auction houses across the world. 

Over 68 antique idols, which were stolen decades ago from the temples in the State, were traced abroad recently and the Idol Wing is yet to bring them back to the State.

Mr. Yadav said these idols were traced mostly in the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Singapore. “Based on the above findings of our investigation, we prepared letter rogatories (LR) under Mutual Legal Agreement Treaty (MLAT) proving the Tamil Nadu Governments’ ownership of the stolen idols for onward transmission to the authorities concerned through proper channel for repatriation of the same to Tamil Nadu. “We hope to retrieve the idols and restore them soon.” 

At present, Idol Wing has 305 cases under investigation and 125 cases pending trial. Mr. Yadav said efforts would be taken for complete investigations and expedited the trial in pending trial cases.  

The ADGP said: “Apart from these, we have recovered 220 idols from various places and kept them at the icon centres. The ownership of the idols is yet to be established.” 

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