Chennai, Nov 22 (BPNS)
Tamil Nadu idol wing police are in pursuit of a middleman, Surendra who has led them to a hideout in Tiruvanmayur in the state from where 15 idols were recovered. The police have given notice to the owner of the house Ramesh Banthia to respond within one week with full details regarding the idols or else face arrest.
However the idol wing of the police could not secure Surendra, who was the middleman in the deal after police officers posed as ‘antique dealers’ approached the middleman in a bid to reach up to the place where the idols were stored. This was following proper tip off that idols were being stored at a home in Tiruvanmayur and that it was to be shipped to some unknown destination.
The middleman had led the police officer posing as the antique collector to the home where the idols were stored. When Surendra came to know that the antique collector was infact a police officer, he fled and the police is now in his pursuit.
15 valuable idols of Amman, Devi, Shiva, Parvathy, Nandhi, Buddha, Small Nataraja, Big Nataraja, Ram, Lakshman, Sita, Hanuman, A horse, Narthana Vinayagar and a Nataraja idol with the plinth in the right leg folded.
Police officers told IANS that Surendra is an important person as there was information that he was acting as the middleman between antique sellers and buyers in the international market. Idol wing sources are probing whether he has played roles in other high-profile seizures of antique idols.
The owner of the house at Tiruvanmayur from where 15 idols were seized admitted to the police that he did not process any license from the Archeological Survey of India nor does he have any documents for the purchased idols. The police is probing the details of the idols with the support of the Archeological Survey of India to trace the period of the idols using Carbon dating and the temples from where the idols were stolen.