CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Wednesday dismissed the fourth bail application of notorious idol smuggler Subhash Kapoor, noting that if he is enlarged on bail, it would result in prolongation of the trial as there is every likelihood of his fleeing from the clutches of law.
The issue pertains to two criminal cases pending against Kapoor, a person of Indian origin who migrated to the United States of America in 1974. He made his wealth by exhibiting and selling antique idols in his art gallery “Art of the Past” for the past 35 years.
In 2008, two criminal cases were filed against him in respect of theft of antique idols from two temples in Ariyalur district, smuggling them to the US and selling the idols in the his art gallery. He was arrested on October 30, 2011 by the German police and extradited to India.
Contending that the two criminal cases has been made against the petitioner after a delay of 24 years for the alleged occurrence in 1984, he had sought bail for the fourth time.
Kapoor’s counsel alleged that the State police failed to follow the mandatory procedure to make an arrest under the Extradition Act, 1962. “The arrest can be made only after getting sanction from the Central government, but in the instant case, no such sanction has been obtained,” the counsel said.
Moreover, under the Extradition Act, the consent of the foreign State has to be obtained for trial, but no such consent was sought from Germany to commence trial, he argued.
Pointing out the seriousness of the crime, Advocate General A L Somayaji said, “The petitioner is involved in two cases, both of which relate to theft of antique idols of Hindu deities, numbering 28 and the said idols belong to 11th and 12th century Chola period.”
“The petitioner is a habitual offender, 80 per cent idols in his art gallery at New York have been seized by the Home Land Security Officers as stolen,” he added and opposed the petition.
After hearing both the parties, Justice S Vaidyanathan, before whom the matter came for hearing, rejected the bail application. However, after obtaining a reply from the German government, the trial court must conduct the trial on a day-to-day basis, the judge said, adding thereafter the matter shall not be adjourned to more than a week at any point of time.