He, along with his aides, including his son, and others, was reportedly selling the stolen idols to galleries in the US, Australia and Germany, according to the investigating officers here.
Speaking to reporters, DSP Kanagaraj and ADSP Ilangovan who have been leading the team, said that 1600 year old two stone idols of Dwaraka Balakar were stolen from the Munreeshwaramudayar temple in Athalanallur in Tirunelveli in January 1995. A team of Idol Wing Police conducted investigation, after which police arrested Lakshmi Narasimhan (53) from Mahabalipuram, in Kancheepuram district, Umaidurai (68) from Mylapore and Annadurai (59) from Thanjavur on Sunday.
During interrogation, the accused confessed that Mumbai based Vallabha Prakash (87) and his son Aditya Prakash (48), proprietors of the Indo-Nepal Art Centre were the brain behind the smuggling and the gang had reportedly sold the stolen idols for the duo. According to them, the two stolen idols have been placed in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra . Based on the information, the idol wing police arrested the duo on Monday. “Vallabha Prakash and Aditya Prakash have indepth knowledge about the ancient idols and can give prompt estimation of the period and the quality of the idols. And they use to feed the gang and direct them to steal the ancient idols,” said DSP Kanagaraj. He added that the police have initiated steps to bring back the idols that were sold by the gang. The team has also sent representation to the countries where the idols were sold. Several cases are pending against the duo in Viruddhachalam, Nellai and Palavur. Meanwhile, Inspector General of Police (Idol Wing), AG Pon Manicka Vel said that as many as 363 cases have been transferred to the Idol Wing Police in 40 years. Of them, only 100 cases are yet to be traced.