Tamil Nadu

Idols worth crores yet to be recovered from abroad

Priceless treasure: Lack of proper records and weak enforcement have come in the way of recovering many of the stolen idols.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Sources at the Idol Wing here said that antique idols worth several crores of rupees, which were stolen from State temples and smuggled to foreign countries, were yet to be recovered.

Pon Manickavel, who was the Idol Wing chief till last week and was transferred, and a new officer posted in his place, had written to higher-ups seeking criminal action against some officers in the department. Mr. Manickavel had initiated reinvestigation into a couple of cases and filed fresh charge sheets.

Though one major network of antique dealers — Subash Kapoor, Deenadayalan, Vallabh Prakash and Aditya Prakash were caught, other accomplices were at large and a large number of idols were yet to be retrieved and brought back, the sources said.

Several antique idols were smuggled from temples in the State through locals and sent to the Indo-Nepal Art Gallery, Mumbai.

Later, the idols were taken to Hong Kong, the U.S., the U.K., Singapore and Australia, via Nepal or Kolkata, the sources added.

The Idol Wing is yet to send a letter rogatory to these countries to make enquiries with Niel Perry Smith, a British citizen, reportedly the professional who had restored many stolen bronzes for Kapoor; a forwarder called Lady Law Shang of Hong Kong and Parameshwari in Singapore.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 2:47:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/idols-worth-crores-yet-to-be-recovered-from-abroad/article19254300.ece

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