Tamil Nadu Idol Wing sleuths seized 12 idols, of which 9 are antiques, worth Rs 40 crore from a craft shop in a Mahabalipuram resort on Tuesday. One of the idols is that of Ravana on one side and Sita on the other and this is the first time that such an artefact has been seized by the cops. A person of Kashmiri origin has been arrested.
“The idol of Ravana could have come from Sri Lanka or north India. There is no case of such an idol going missing in Tamil Nadu,” an official said.
Addressing a press meet, K Jayanth Murali, Additional Director General of Police, Idol Wing, said that the investigation began after they received information about an illegal antique idol of Parvathi being in the custody of one Javed Shah, of Srinagar, currently living at Kovalam, Mahabalipuram, and running a shop modelled after the Indian Cottage Emporium at a beach resort.
An Idol Wing Police party comprising ADSP Ashok Natarajan, DSP Muthuraja, Inspector Tamilselvi conducted a search in the premises of the shop on December, 24 2021. During the search for the Parvathi idol, police discovered several others which on examination by experts were found to be antiques. The sleuths arrested Shah on Tuesday and the Parvathi idol, another antique, was recovered from him.
An ASI expert estimated the value of idols to be between Rs 30-40 crore. Further investigation is on to find out the temples from which the idols were stolen, the official added.