EOW Taking Steps to Retrieve Smuggled Idols from Australia, Singapore, Belgium
The Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police Economic Offences Wing is in the process of retrieving 27 of the 28 idols stolen from the State and smuggled out of the country by Subash Kapoor, who is now cooling his heels at the Puzhal prison.
Kapoor’s bail petition has been dismissed six times by the High Court, while his other aides have managed to come out on bail.
“We have, so far, recovered only one Vinayagar idol from two of the smugglers. Of the remaining 27, we have located at least 14 and confirmed the identity of four more idols, worth millions of dollars in foreign galleries. Two idols in Australian galleries had been sold for a whopping sum of `60 crore by the accused. One more is in Belgium and another in Singapore. We have already written to the Australian and US authorities and will be communicating to the Singapore officials as well,” Idol Wing DIG Ponmanickavel told mediapersons on Tuesday.
The DIG informed that a manager of Kapoor was found guilty by a court in New York, which was yet to pronounce its verdict since he had pleaded guilty and offered to become an approver. “He had admitted to procuring over 150 idols, all smuggled out by Kapoor through his network. Of the 150, 100 were smuggled from India. The Australian museum had already initiated legal proceedings in a US court against Kapoor, seeking millions of dollars as damages for breach of trust, as the sale was made in US soil,” he said.
“Subash, in the sale agreement, had falsely claimed that the idols had earlier been in the possession of a Sudan Ambassador in India who had bought them from a shop in Delhi in the year 1974 and even forged documents to prove it. As per a clause in the agreement, he had even agreed to repay the cost with 12 pc interest from the date of purchase,” Ponmanickavel said.
As a precautionary measure, the police have advised the authorities of temples that come under the HR&CE department in Tamil Nadu to photograph their idols. “We have advised them to take photographs of the idols so that it will be useful to claim them in the event of a future loss,” he added.