Cops crack sensational temple idol theft case

June 13, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 05:51 am IST - GUNTUR:

A B-Tech student, a habitual offender of artefacts and a seasoned carrier of stolen idols came together on April 10 to make away with a 75 kg panchaloha idol of Medha Dakshninamurthy at the Venkatagiri temple in Nellore district.

The gang finished the operation with clinical precision and were about to sell the idol when they were stopped in their tracks by a police officer.

The gang, led by Vidagatta Srinivasulu alias Dubai Srinu, a habitual offender, sneaked into the Kasi Visweswara Swamy Devastanam at Venkatagiri, and made away with the idol. Sompalli Srikanth Chowdary, a B-Tech student from Kadapa, who was desperate to cover up his losses in a business, Y. Penchalayya and five others assisted Srinivasulu in the mission. They broke the temple door with an iron rod and lifted the idol. In the melee, Srinivasulu suffered injuries.

The stolen idol was kept in Srikanth’s house, and the latter was planning to sell it off and make a fortune when police nabbed the king pin, Dubai Srinu.

“The key to the breakthrough in this case is the technology to access call data from mobile towers. I have scanned through 35 lakh calls made during the five days before and after the incident and zeroed in on the numbers between which calls were made frequently. There were 170 calls made on that day of the theft alone,” Sub-Inspector of Police (Guntur Urban Crime Control Station) G. Veerendra Babu said.

The Inspector then analysed the calls and identified the main accused, who was then taking treatment at a local hospital. After nabbing him, police identified the rest of the gang. The idol was traced at Srikanth’s house. Police arrested 12 persons in this connection, and some of them are from Tamil Nadu.

Mr. Veerendra Babu was specially commended by Director General of Police J.V Ramudu.

Rare panchaloha idol weighing 75 kg seized

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