Subash Kapoor sentenced to 10-year RI for smuggling 19 idols

Prosecution says Chola artefacts valued at C94 crore were sent to gallery in New York
Indian-American art dealer Subash Kapoor (71)
Indian-American art dealer Subash Kapoor (71)

THANJAVUR: Indian-American art dealer Subash Kapoor (71) was on Tuesday sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment by a court in Kumbakonam on the charges of idol burglary and illegal export. The burglary involved 19 idols valued at Rs 94 crore, which were sent to his New York-based gallery ‘Art of the Past, said idol wing police.

Two accused Sanjiv Asokan and Packiyakumar were also awarded 10 years each of rigorous imprisonment. Three others, Marichamy, Sri Ram alias Sulogu and Parthiban, were awarded 14 years of rigorous imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, the 19 idols, which were kept in Sri Varadaraja Perumal temple at Suthamalli village in Ariyalur, had been stolen in 2008. Based on a complaint by the temple’s executive officer, a case was registered.

Following this, Marichamy and two others were arrested in Kerala in connection with the case. They revealed details of the illegal export of the two dealers, Asokan and Packiyakumar. It later came to light that the two were in constant touch with Kapoor. They conspired to steal and export the ancient Chola artefacts.

In October 2011, Kapoor was detained by German police at the Cologne Airport based on a Red Corner Notice issued by Interpol. He was handed over to the idol wing police, Chennai in July 2012 and extradited to India. He was remanded and lodged at the Tiruchy central prison.

K Jayanth Murali, DGP of idol wing, CID, announced a reward to Balamurugan, ADSP of the central zone and his team for expediting the trial despite pressure and tactics adopted by Kapoor and the co-accused to delay the trial, a release stated. It may be noted four more smuggling cases are pending against Kapoor in Vikramangalam, Veeravanallur, Paluvoor and Virudhachalam.

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