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TN idol wing conducts searches on antique dealers premises

- April 25, 2022

Chennai, April 25 (BPNS)

The special team of the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu police is conducting searches at the premises of several antique dealers in various towns of the state. Sources told BPNS that this is following tips that some rare idols are being kept on the premises of these antique dealers.

The Idol Wing of the state police has spread into several teams and conducting searches following tips that some antique dealers who are internationally known are entering into a deal with some local antique shop owners. Sources in the Tamil Nadu police (Idol Wing) told BPNS that the search is following tip-offs from central agencies on the presence of internationally red-flagged antique dealers making some calls to dealers in Tamil Nadu.

After the arrest and subsequent jailing of notorious idol smuggler, Sanjeev Kapur, there has been a reduction in the sale of antique idols to foreign countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was also keen that the Indian idols that were smuggled out from the country be taken back and installed at the temples from where they were stolen and sold on the international market.

On Friday, the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu police had informed the Madras High Court that it had booked 49 idol theft cases, arrested 109 accused, and recovered 128 stolen idols since December 1, 2019. The wing also informed the court that of the repatriated idols 13 were from the United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.

R. Dinakaran, Inspector General of the Idol wing of Tamil Nadu police informed the court that of the 22 idols recovered since 2014, 13 were given back to temples and 9 are with the Archeological Survey of India.

Sources in the Tamil Nadu Idol wing informed BPNS that the raids will continue through the day and if necessary will be extended further. A senior officer while speaking to BPNS said, “We are conducting these searches based on specific inputs and this may continue through the day and might extend further. The state government and the central government are keen that no further valuable idols with both archeological and religious value be shipped out of the country. This can be considered as a major precautionary reaction by the department acting on inputs that are reliable.”