Idol theft: DSP on the run

Police teams fan out to nab him; accomplice arrested

June 29, 2017 12:40 am | Updated 07:27 am IST - Chennai

Khader Batcha

Khader Batcha

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Khader Batcha, who is wanted for smuggling of antique idols, is on the run. Mr. Batcha was serving in the Tiruvallur district crime branch. He went into hiding after his accomplice, Subburaj, a Special Sub Inspector (SSI), was arrested.

The CB-CID Idol Wing has launched a manhunt to nab him and has deputed special teams to several places across the country. Inspector General of Police, Idol Wing, A.G. Ponn Manickavel told The Hindu ,

“We have registered a case against the officers who handled the case, and have arrested Subburaj. We are on the look out for the DSP,” he said. Mr. Subburaj was remanded in judicial custody after he was produced before a special court in Srivilliputtur on Monday.

According to sources, in 2008, Sundaramoorthy, a professional photographer who was running a studio in South Mada Street in Madurai and was involved in selling antique idols, had displayed photos of two idols — Siva and Parvathi — in his studio. Mr. Batcha, who was an Inspector at the time, and Mr. Subburaj, then a head constable in the Idol Wing, had quizzed Mr. Sundaramoorthy over the photos displayed in his studio.

Following a lead from him, the officers apprehended Arokiaraj, a resident of Aladipatti in Virudhunagar, who was trying sell some idols recovered from his agricultural land.

Lured by easy money

Mr. Arokiaraj and Mr. Sundaramoorthy were allegedly interrogated at a guest house in Virudhunagar but they escaped. Mr. Batcha sold the idols he had seized to Deenadayalan, an international antique dealer, for ₹25 lakh. The idols found their way to Manhattan gallery owner Subhash Kapoor, who is now in Puzhal Prison, and later to Hong Kong.

Kader Batcha was later promoted as DSP and posted in Tiruvallur district and Subburaj was promoted as SSI with Chennai City Police.

The two officers have been charged with robbery with arms and have been booked for extortion, public servants unlawfully engaging in trade, as well as forgery, and under the provisions of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act.

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