Andhra Pradesh

Police unravel silver lion idols theft case of Kanaka Durga temple

Police Commissioner B. Srinivasulu displaying the seized booty at a press conference in Vijayawada on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: V. RAJU

The Special Investigation Team (SIT), in association with Vijayawada City Police, has solved the sensational silver lion idols theft case of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvaarla Devastanam (Kanaka Durga temple).

The police arrested Jakkampudi Saibaba alias Jakkamsetti Sai, native of Gollavanitippa village, Bhimavaram mandal in West Godavari district, and jewel trader and receiver Mutha Kamalesh of Tanuku town.

Briefing newsmen here on Saturday, Police Commissioner B. Srinivasulu said the accused, Saibaba, a notorious thief and wanted in several temple theft cases, allegedly committed the theft in Kanaka Durga temple, and stole the three silver lions from the chariot during the lockdown period.

Wanted criminal

The accused, an agriculture labourer and a worker at aquaculture ponds, was allegedly committing thefts in looting temples since 2008. He reportedly confessed to have committed more than 20 offences and was arrested by Kovvur and Nidavavole police in 2011.

In June last year, Saibaba visited Kanaka Durga temple and observed the chariot and the silver lions without any security. After a few days, he procured two iron rods, came to Vijayawada pulled up three lion idols with an idon rod, kept them in a bag and escaped from the spot.

He sold the three lion idols and sold them for ₹35,000 in a jewellery shop in Tanuku. Police arrested the accused as well as the shop owner, who procured the booty, said SIT head and DIG G.V.G. Ashok Kumar.

Modus Operandi

“Saibaba confessed to have committed thefts in many temples in East and West Godavari and Krishna districts. The modus operandi of the accused is to visit the temples, have darshan of the deities, perform pujas and conduct ‘recce’ during day hours. In the night time, he will strike on the temples and escape with valuables,” Mr. Ashok Kumar said.

The team led by SIT member and West Zone Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) K. Hanumantha Rao, One Town CI P. Venkateswarlu and Ibrahimpatnam Detective SI S. Srinivas Rao picked up the accused, the DIG said.

“Police will file a petition in the court seeking custody of the accused for thorough investigation of the case,” Mr. Srinivasulu said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Vikrant Patil and other officers were present.

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Printable version | Mar 1, 2021 3:49:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/police-unravel-silver-lion-idols-theft-case-of-kanaka-durga-temple/article33645483.ece

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