CHENNAI: Three years after police seized eight smuggled temple idols, the kingpin of the racket was arrested by the idol wing of the CID on Wednesday.
The idols belonging to different temples in Kancheepuram and Tiruvannamalai districts were seized on May 14, 2015 from Dhanalingam as he was carrying them in a sack on a motorcycle in West Mambalam. However, there has been no progress in the case for over three years. Jayakumar, believed to be mastermind behind the racket, who has been absconding, was arrested at Red Hills on Wednesday.
“Acting on a tip-off, the idol wing nabbed Jayakumar at the residence of his friend around 4 am on Wednesday. A G Pon Manickavel, Inspector-General attached to the idol wing of the CID, rewarded the informant with `10,000 in cash,” said police sources.
In 2015, idols of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvathy were stolen from Manikandeshwarar temple in Kancheepuram. In the same year, three more idols of Adikesava Perumal, Sridevi and Bhoodevi were stolen from Savundhiriyapuram temple in Tiruvannamalai. Similarly, in Venkatesa Perumal temple in Paiyur, an idol of Venkatesa Perumal, Sankarathazhvar and Sridevi, Bhoodevi were stolen.
“Investigations revealed that Jayakumar from Kavangarai near Puzhal played the role of a mastermind in stealing and planning to smuggle the items abroad. Each idol costs `10 crore,” said the police source.