CHENNAI: Sleuths from the Tamil Nadu Idol Wing on Wednesday seized as many as 9 artifacts, of which 7 are confirmed to be antique in nature with more than 300 years old, a note from the wing said.
Following receipt of secret information by the Idol Wing sleuths raided a building on Pedariyar Koil Street, Broadway, Chennai, on Wednesday and unearthed idols worth many crores of rupees.
The place belongs to Pamela Emanuel, wife of late Manuel R Pineiro, who was reportedly a smuggler of idols. After Pineiro's death, some of the idols he could not smuggle to other countries were lying in the house in a secret place, police said. When the search commenced, the team first unearthed an antique idol of Dakshina Gurumoorthy. Subsequently, when the team searched a well-concealed figure, eight other idols came tumbling out.
The inmates of the house, who were concealing the idols, did not have any documents to prove their possession of them. The team seized the idols in the presence of witnesses, as they had extensions at the base, which are used for fixing them in the premises of the temples. These idols seem to belong to temples and investigation is on to find the exact location.
The inmates neither had proper explanation for possessing the antique idols without any formal documentation, nor were they able to explain how they had obtained it. An investigation is under way to find the temples from which the idols were stolen, the accused who stole the idol and their antiquity.
Stone sculpture of four statues carved on a single plinth (Width: 47 cm, height: 17 cm)
A stone sculpture of five figures carved on a single plinth (Width: 60 cm, height: 16 cm)
A male goddess stone sculpture with plinth (Murugan idol) (Width: 32 cm, height: 73 cm)
A male goddess (Dakshinamoorthy-broken in two in the middle) sculpture with plinth (Width: 63 cm, height 63 cm)
A stone statue of a male deity with a pedestal (Saneeswarar idol) (the left front of the pedestal is broken) (Width: 27 cm, height: 41 cm)
A stone statue of a female deity with a pedestal (Amman idol)
(Width: 19 cm, height: 60 cm)
A stone statue of a male deity with pedestal (Veerabagu idol) (Width: 24 cm, height: 61 cm)
A statue of a female deity with pedestal (Valli idol) (Width: 20 cm, height: 61 cm)
The team found a statue of a female deity with a pedestal (Deivanai idol) (Width: 20 cm, height 61 cm)
(Note: All the measurements mentioned above are approximate)