Puducherry

Idol Wing police serve notice to French couple

Inspector-General of Police (Idol wing) A.G. Pon Manickavel taking a look at the idols recovered from a house in Kolas Nagar Near Uppalam in Puducherry.

Inspector-General of Police (Idol wing) A.G. Pon Manickavel taking a look at the idols recovered from a house in Kolas Nagar Near Uppalam in Puducherry.  

If they don’t respond, police plan to seek their extradition through proper channel

The Idol Wing CID of the Tamil Nadu Economic Offences Wing has taken steps to serve a police notice to the French couple of Puducherry origin whose house the team raided and recovered 11 antique idols worth several crores of rupees on Wednesday.

A team, led by A.G. Pon Manickavel, Inspector-General of Police of the Idol Wing CID, raided the three-storey residence of couple Vijay alias Francis Pushparaj and Vennila in Colas Nagar on Tuesday night and recovered 11 idols, including that of Mahishasura Mardini, Somaskandar, Kalyanasundara, Lord Shiva, Parvathi, and Amman.

The idols were seized based on a confession by Pushparajan, an antique dealer and close aide of Deenadayalan who was staying on rent in the house in Colas Nagar. Pushparajan was said to be running an art gallery in the White Town.

“We will be serving a police notice through proper channel to the couple staying in France and provide them reasonable opportunities to produce records for the collection of antiques in the house. If they fail to respond to the notice, the Idol Wing will invoke Section 166 a of the Criminal Procedure Code, seeking permission to send a letter of request to the competent authority for investigation into the case and have them extradited to India,’’ A.G. Pon Manickavel, Inspector-General of Police told The Hindu.

Mr. Manickavel said that a person could not become a bona fide owner with mere possession of an antiquity certificate. Based on the confession of Pushparajan, the team laid a trap and posed as prospective buyer of idols and nabbed Ranjith Kumar, a carpenter and caretaker of the house from the new bus stand.

Preliminary investigations revealed that nine of the 11 idols were among those stolen from the 1,000-year-old Somnath Eswaran temple at Melapadi village near Ranipet in Vellore district 15 years ago.

The police suspect that the idols had changed five or six hands before being purchased by the couple. The idols were shipped in two consignments to the couple, the police said.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 2:15:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/Idol-Wing-police-serve-notice-to-French-couple/article15829443.ece

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