TIRUCHY: The idol wing personnel seized as many as 14 ancient idols worth several hundreds of crores from an art gallery in Thanjavur and arrested the owner, who was planning to sell them abroad.
Sources said that the idol wing police got information that a few idols, including that of Rishabhadeva, Sivagami Amman, and Mahavira were produced before the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) with the intention of selling the idols abroad after obtaining a certificate of them being not antique. However, it is said, the ASI, after examining the idols, issued a certificate that the idols are suspected to be antiques.File chargesheet within 4 months: HC on peacock idol case
On information, the idol wing, received a tip off that one Ganapathy, who owns an Art Village - an art gallery in Shivaji Nagar, Thanjavur, has been searching for antique lovers to sell the idols in India or abroad that were in his possession.
Subsequently, DGP (Idol Wing) Jayanth Murali ordered for a search operation. Based on the order, Additional SP Malaichamy constituted a team, led by DSP Kathiravan along with Inspector R Indira, which conducted a search operation in the Art Village during which they found as many as 14 ancient idols of Perumal, Rishabhadeva, Amman, Natana Amman, Sivakami Amman, Appar, Sundarar, Manickavasakar, Little Nandi, Mahavira, Kalinga Krishna concealed in a secret place.
As the accused Ganapathy did not possess any valid documents to prove his ownership or the origin of idols, the team seized all the antiques and arrested him. An investigation is under way to find the temple from which the idols were stolen, persons who stole the idols and its antiquity.
Initial investigations revealed that Ganapathy had approached the ASI in 2017 for clearance to send it abroad, but the same was rejected as some of the idols were suspected to be antique.