VELLORE: An idol smuggling racket was busted near Gudiyatham in the district on Friday after the police arrested two persons who were trying to sell stolen panchaloha idols for `4 crore. Three idols have been recovered and a manhunt is on for three more members of the gang. The Inspector General of Idol Wing himself was part of the operation that ended in the arrests.
According to sources, Pon Manickavel, Inspector General of Idol Wing, received a tip-off from an unknown person on Friday morning. The caller said that some idol thieves were hiding near Kallapadi village in Gudiyatham and that they were trying to sell some temple idols which were stolen.
Trailing the tip-off, Manickavel, along with Vellore North Inspector Arivazhagan, trapped the thieves and recovered the idols. Sources said that the police talked to thieves over phone in the disguise of prospective buyers and bargained with them.
After knowing the whereabouts of the thieves, the police arrived at the spot and rounded them up, arrested two persons and recovered the idols. The arrested persons have been identified as Thirulogasundar (39) and Anbu (24), both residents of Kallapadi village in Gudiyatham.
The police recovered a three feet tall Vinayagar idol, one Murugan and one Lakshmi idols. The Vinayagar idol was stolen on October 29 from the Selva Vinayagar temple at Kottamedu village in Sozhavaram North. The estimated value of this idol was approximately `5 lakh.
The police are in search of three more accomplices who have been absconding since the crackdown. A case has been registered at the Vellore Taluk Police Station.
Among the three absconding thieves, one has around 16 cases pending against him. Police hope that with the arrest of remaining trio, several idol theft cases in and around the district can be solved.
In civilian clothes
The police talked to thieves over phone in the disguise of prospective buyers
They were said to have bargained with the theives, after which they were given a location to come to
After knowing their whereabouts, the police rounded the theives up
Two persons have been arrested and three idols were recovered
The estimated value of one of the idols alone was `5 lakh
A hunt is on for three more members of the gang