Two antique idols with archaeological significance were seized by sleuths attached to the Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch (SIIB) of Tuticorin Customs.
One stone idol weighing 17 kg and a metal idol of 1.48 kg were found concealed in coconut bags, Assistant Commissioner (SIIB), Custom House, Tuticorin, Piyush Bharadwaj, said here on Wednesday.
The officials got access to Chola container freight station here and examined the consignment declared as semi-husked fresh coconuts on a shipping bill.
As per Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, antique idols should not be exported. Investigations revealed that these idols were to be smuggled to the United Arab Emirates.
S. Paulraj (31) of Tuticorin, proprietor of Nova Impex and exporter, was arrested for the seizure and remanded to judicial custody, he told the media. However, a team of officials from Archaeological Survey of India, Madurai, would identify the value and category of these idols, he said. Mr. Bharadwaj along with SIIB officials, including C. Senthilnathan, R. Murali, Nanda Kumar, K. Ragupathy, S. Selva, Jacob P. George, and S. Thirukumaran, and Superintendents inspected the idols.