KARNATAKA

Antique Koran seized

PRICELESS COLLECTION: Police Commissioner N. Achuta Rao looking at the antique Koran and Tanjore painting in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

PRICELESS COLLECTION: Police Commissioner N. Achuta Rao looking at the antique Koran and Tanjore painting in Bangalore on Wednesday. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy  

Staff Reporter

Police seek ASI official's help to ascertain claim

Bangalore: The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police seized an antique Koran, supposedly written by Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and a Tanjore painting depicting King Sefroji with his chief adviser from a man here on Tuesday. Both the antiques are worth around Rs.5.10 crore.

Speaking to presspersons here on Wednesday, Police Commissioner N. Achuta Rao said the CCB police, on a tip-off, arrested M.G. Sukumar (44) from Thrissur, Kerala, at a hotel on M.G. Road where he was waiting for potential buyers. He said they were yet to ascertain whether the Koran and the painting were indeed antiques, as claimed by Sukumar. "We have to first check if the `antiques' have already been registered with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). We have invited ASI officials to give their expert opinion."

Mr. Rao also said the Director-General of the ASI would have to certify that the items were antiques. According to sources, the CCB had invited Rehana Shah, Officer on Special Duty, Ministry of Human Resources, to contact the ASI officials.

Mr. Rao said though Sukumar was allegedly palming off the Koran, that weighs 13 kg, as being personally written by Aurangzeb, the book is apparently in an excellent condition. The Mughal emperor's supposed signature is found on the last page.

According to the accused, the holy book, which has more than 1,000 pages is virtually fireproof. Each page is a copper plate coated with paper which is, in turn, coated with a chemical that has helped protect the beautiful calligraphy.

Moreover, every page has a unique fragrance of its own. Gold and silver has been mixed with the ink and each of the 30 sections is written in a different calligraphic style.

The Tanjore painting, with the huge wooden frame, weighs around 140 kg.

It is a stunning piece of work with gold embossing and semi-precious stones.

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