Andhra Pradesh

Antique smuggling racket busted, four held

Idols recovered put on display by Prakasam police in Ongole on Sunday.

Idols recovered put on display by Prakasam police in Ongole on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Kommuri Srinivas

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Two panchaloha idols, three processional deities and a temple car replica worth ₹45 lakh were seized from the accused, say police

The Prakasam police unearthed an antique smuggling racket with the arrest of four persons, including a priest, here on Sunday.

Two panchaloha idols,three processional deities and a temple car replica worth ₹45 lakh were seized from the idol lifters when they tried to sell them near the Sanghamitra Ramesh Hospital Centre on the arterial Chennai-Kolkata highway.

Darsi Deputy Superintendent of Police K.Prakasa Rao said the 12 th century Panchaloha idols of Annapurnadevi and Veerabhadraswamy were stolen from two Siva temples constructed in Prakasam district in the medieval period.

The accused, T. Mallikarujuna Rao(45), S.Rajesh (28), Md. Hidayutallah(45) and K.Prasada Rao (40), who were addicted to vices, hatched a conspiracy to steal the antique idols from the historic temples of Kasi Visweswara and Chidambareswara in Prakasam district as they fetch a lucrative price in the antique market, said Central Crime Station DSP A. Prasad Kumar. They also tried to sell the processional deities.

Antique idols in a good number of Siva temples were shifted to Kasi Visweswara temple in Thammavaram village for safe upkeep after treasure hunters struck at dilapidated temples at Muktheswaram, Vydana and Konidena looking for hidden precious stones as they were once a flourishing centres of Saivism during 11th and 14 the century when Cholas reigned supreme in ‘Kamma Nadu’(the region between Bapatla and Kothapatnam in the present day Andhra Pradesh).

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 4:41:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/antique-smuggling-racket-unearthed-four-held/article30312307.ece

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