The officers of Idol Wing seized seven high-value antique Chola bronzes, including those of Krishna, Parvati and Buddha and two Tanjore paintings from a house of a non-resident Indian (NRI) in Raja Annamalaipuram in Chennai.
Sources said K. Jayanth Murali, Director-General of Police, Idol Wing CID, had ordered a search of the house following information that high-value antique Chola bronzes and paintings of 15th century were left behind by an NRI at his R.A. Puram house in 2011.
The team located the house last week but could not take action as the owner lived in the U.S. The team contacted the owner and asked him to submit the documents, within a week, to prove the provenance, antiquity status and registration papers if the idols were antique.
The police said the owner said his parents were in possession of the idols even before he was born and therefore he did not know about their origin. The owner could not produce the documents even after being given time. He then decided to hand the over the bronzes and paintings to the Idol Wing police.
Some of the idols had markings and slots for fixing them on temple palanquins to be carried during festive occasions.
A case has been registered and the antiques would be produced before Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kumbakonam, on Saturday, where a connected case was being heard. Further investigation is on to identify the temples to which these idols belonged, said the police.