Lord Nataraja idol recovered from TN sculptor’s workshed

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The Tamil Nadu Police’s Idol Wing has recovered a 5-ft-high Lord Nataraja statue from the workshed of a sculptor in Thanjavur district.

Idol Wing sources said the antique metal piece was seized on Wednesday, after which it produced before a court.

The sculptor, Suresh, was first interrogated then let off and asked to appear whenever he was summoned by the Idol Wing.

The officers said that they are probing whether Suresh is involved in the smuggling of antique idols from Tamil Nadu to foreign destinations. They however did not divulge any further details on whether other idols were present in the workshed during the raids.

Sleuths said that they conducted raids at the workshed after obtaining permission from the Kumbakonam district court.

As per police sources, Suresh did not own any documents to prove that the idol belonged to him and hence it was produced before the Kumbakonam court.

The Idol Wing said that only after a detailed probe, it could be determined whether the idol belonged to any temple in Tamil Nadu.

The Idol Wing has cracked several cases related to the stealing and smuggling of precious idols from temples.

In a recent raid, an idol worth Rs 9 crore in the international market was seized from the premises of an antique seller and the officers took it under custody and produced it before the Chennai magistrate court.

The owner of the famous antique shop was was taken into custody by the police and on further interrogation it was found that several idols had been shipped out of the country.

A temple priest was also arrested for keeping several idols in his house and seeking international buyers.

An Idol Wing officer told IANS that they have recovered several antique pieces belonging to various temples in Tamil Nadu and even Karnataka.

“This is a thriving business in the grey market but the intervention of the idol wing has decelerated the momentum of smuggling and are closely monitoring almost all suspected people including those behind the bars who were involved in idol thefts and smuggling them to foreign countries.”

20220331-110001

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