TAMIL NADU

No breakthrough in idol theft case Law & order



Law enforcers yet to get definite clues to crack the case and apprehend culprits, writes

R. Rajaram



The case relating to the theft of brass and bronze idols from the Government Museum here is posing a challenge to the City Police with breakthrough eluding the investigators.

Over two-and-a-half months after the crime was reported, the law enforcers are yet to get hold of definite clues to crack the case and apprehend the culprits.

In all, 27 brass and bronze idols of various deities including those of Devi, Krishnar, Nagadevathai, Kali, Thirumal, Seetha Amman, Murugan and Sivan were reported stolen from the museum functioning in the Rani Mangammal Darbar Hall, a heritage building located in the Town Hall complex in the city. The stolen idols were of sizes ranging from 9 to 54 centimetres in height.

Unidentified culprits had gained entry into the Curator’s office located on the rear of the museum in the wee hours after cutting open the steel frame of a window and took away the idols kept in a cupboard. The offence took place in the limits of Fort (Crime) Police Station situated barely a few metres away from the museum that was established in 1983.

Alongside forming three special teams to probe the theft case reported on September 29, the City Police wrote to the Idol Wing CID of the State Police seeking profiles of ex-convicts and offenders involved in idol thefts across the State.

The profiles from the Idol Wing, which, in addition to investigating idol theft cases referred to it by the State Government, collects intelligence information on nefarious activities of antique dealers and art collectors, were sought in a bid to gain some inputs and leads in the case.

Police sources say they had verified previous accused as part of the investigation besides checking the profiles of the modus operandi criminals sent by the Idol Wing. Enquiries were also conducted with the museum watchman and other staff. However, the investigators were yet to obtain concrete clues in the case, says a police officer.

Finger prints lifted from the scene of crime have not yielded anything conclusive. As part of their enquiry, the police teams had visited places such as Orathanadu, Nannilam, Salem and Thuraiyur, but a breakthrough still eludes the investigators.

Museum authorities say they had shifted over 100 bronze idols to the Government Museum at Chennai in the aftermath of the incident.

The idols would be brought back after security measures were strengthened at the Tiruchi museum, the authorities added. Police say they are pursuing the case.

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