Six ancient metal idols worth Rs 22 cr seized in Thanjavur, three held

According to sources, a special team of Idol Wing of Tiruchy intercepted a car at a bus stop near Periyar Samthuvapuram on Thanjavur-Tiruchy National Highway on July 6.
One among the ancient metal idols seized by Idol Wing CID 
on Monday
One among the ancient metal idols seized by Idol Wing CID on Monday Photo | Express

THANJAVUR: The Idol Wing CID has seized six ancient metal idols valued at Rs 22 crore and arrested three persons. The accused were produced before a court in Kumbakonam on Monday.

According to sources, a special team of Idol Wing of Tiruchy intercepted a car at a bus stop near Periyar Samthuvapuram on Thanjavur-Tiruchy National Highway on July 6. During the search operation, police uncovered gunny bags and found metal idols of Tripuranthakar (67 kg), Veenadhara Dakshinamurthy (40 kg), Rishabadevar (76 kg), and three others of Amman (40 kg each).

The car driver was identified as G Rajesh Kannan (42) of Salem, and his accomplices as V Laxmanan (64) of Mayiladuthurai and his son in law S Thirumurugan (39). During inquiry, Laxmanan admitted that while digging at Korukkai village in Mayiladuthurai five years ago for constructing a house, he unearthed the six idols, police said.

However, he did not inform government officials, and hid them in his house and passed on the information to Rajesh Kannan who came to Korukkai village along with Tirumurugan, and saw the idols. The three conspired to sell these idols to a buyer abroad for a good price, said sources. On July 6, after Rajesh Kannan found a buyer, he and Tirumurugan again went to Laxmanan’s house and loaded all six idols in the car.

They were proceeding to Chennai via Tiruchy when they were intercepted at Pudukkudi by the Idol Wing officials, sources added. All three were booked under relevant provisions of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita and arrested on Sunday. They were produced before the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate court in Kumbakonam on Monday and remanded in judicial custody.

Further investigation is on to find out which temples these idols originated from, ownership of idols and the involvement of other culprits, if any, police sources said.

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