Stolen over 50 yrs ago, idol worth Rs 34 cr traced to Christie’s in US

Stolen over 50 yrs ago, idol worth Rs 34 cr traced to Christie’s in US

According to the Idol Wing officials, the criminals had stolen the idol by replacing it with a fake replica.

CHENNAI: Idol Wing has despatched legal documents claiming the legal ownership of Tamil Nadu over the bronze idol of Kalasamharamurthy aka Tripurantaka Murthy that was stolen over 50 years ago from Kasi Viswanatha Swamy Temple, Muthammal Puram Village, Orathanadu in Thanjavur.

According to the Idol Wing officials, the criminals had stolen the idol by replacing it with a fake replica. The Idol Wing traced the 82.3 cm long stolen idol to Christie’s.com. According to the website, the price realised for the stolen idol was $4,350,000 (approximately over Rs 34 crore).

According to a complaint from G Suresh, Executive Officer, HR and CE, Kasi Viswanatha Swamy Temple, submitted in November 2020, the original idol had been replaced by a fake replica some 50 years ago.

A detailed internet search with the help of images of the idol obtained from the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Idol Wing was able to locate an idol looking similar to the missing idol on the website of Christie’s.com (an auction company engaged in selling antiquities artefacts).

After obtaining experts’ opinions and confirming that the idol auctioned by Christie is the one stolen from the temple, the Idol Wing CID was duty bound to take necessary steps for the retrieval of the antique, noted wing’s head DGP Jayanth Murali.

“So the wing has prepared and submitted legal papers of request to the US for repatriation of the antique Kalasamharamurthy bronze idol, which is currently there under the existing agreement between India and the US concerning Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters,” the officer noted.

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in