The idol wing of the Tamil Nadu police has arrested four persons and retrieved five bronze idols from them that were stolen from Arulmigu Adinatha Perumal Ranganaikki Ammal temple in Dindigul district of the state, an official said on Wednesday.
The arrested individuals have been identified as Prabhakaran, R. Ilavarasan, G. Paulraj, and M. Dinesh Kumar. All are from Dindigul district.
According to police, the main accused in the case, Prabhakaran had stolen the idols from the temple in May 2021. The temple authorities had not filed a complaint but the idol wing police came to know that they were planning to sell the idols at a price of Rs 12 crore.
The idols were of Perumal, Sreedevi, Bhudevi, Chandrashekara, and Parvati.
The DGP of the state idol wing police, Jayanth Murali got information and sent a special team of idol wing police to nab the culprits and retrieve the idols.
According to idol wing police sources, Additional Superintendent of Police, Mailachami, and his team of Sub Inspectors and constables carried out an undercover operation and established contact with the smugglers who were in procession of the idols.
Police officers posing as buyers had approached the smugglers but they did not show the idols suspecting the potential buyers to be police officers.
A police officer told IANS that it was after much convincing that they agreed to show the idols and when the articles were shown, all the four individuals were apprehended.
They are being questioned at the idol wing police station for further information as to whether they were involved in other temple thefts.