Chennai

Nine stolen idols retrieved from abroad to be restituted with State soon

All the nine idols are with the Government of India in New Delhi. They are yet to be handed over to Tamil Nadu. Union Ministry of Culture is planning to hand over the idols soon by organising a function in New Delhi.

All the nine idols are with the Government of India in New Delhi. They are yet to be handed over to Tamil Nadu. Union Ministry of Culture is planning to hand over the idols soon by organising a function in New Delhi. | Photo Credit: SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

Rare antique idols worth several crores that were stolen from temples were recently retrieved from art collectors and foreign museums. Nine of these idols will be restituted with the State government authorities soon.  

Director General of Police, Idol Wing-CID, K.Jayanth Murali said these idols were smuggled out a few years ago from the temples and taken abroad. After being identified by the authorities in Tamil Nadu, efforts were taken and nine idols have been retrieved during the last few months.

Among those retrieved, ancient metal Gangala Murthy and Nandikeswarar idols were stolen from Narasinganathar Swamy temple in Alwarkurichi village, in Ambasamudram Taluk, Tirunelveli district in 1985. Two ancient stone Dvarapalagar statues were stolen from the Athalanallur Munreeswaramudaiyar temple in Ambasamudram taluk, Tirunelveli district in 1995.

The list of retrieved idols, includes ancient metal Varadaraja Perumal and Sri Devi idols stolen from the Varatharaja Perumal temple in Udayarpalayam taluk, in Suthamalli village, Ariyalur district in 2008; Shiva and Parvathi idols from Vanmiki Nathar Swamy temple; and the ancient metal Natarajar idol stolen from the Arulmigu Kailasanathar temple in Punnainallur village, Thanjavur district. 

Mr. Murali said the idols were smuggled at different periods with forged documents. “After the idols were identified with art collectors and foreign museums, we took measures to retrieve them by sending Letters of Rogatory (LR) under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.” 

Six idols were retrieved from the U.S. and they were brought back by Prime Minister Modi during his recent visit. Two Dvarapalagar statues and one Anjaneyar idol which were in Australia have been retrieved and brought back to India.

All the nine idols are with the Government of India in New Delhi. They are yet to be handed over to Tamil Nadu. Union Ministry of Culture is planning to hand over the idols soon by organising a function in New Delhi, sources said.


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Printable version | Sep 16, 2022 11:50:12 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/nine-stolen-idols-retrieved-from-abroad-to-be-restituted-with-state-soon/article65211376.ece