300-Year-Old Idols, Looted Over Ten Years Ago from an Indian Temple, Found in Collector’s Home

A special unit of the Sothern Indian state Tamil Nadu’s Police force dedicated to investigating stolen idols found three antique idols, each over 300-years-old, stolen from a temple in the state’s Ulundurpettai district more than ten years ago.

According to a report byThe Hindu,the art collector Shobha Durairajan, who bought the artifacts from Aparna Gallery came to the attention of the Idol Wing police after she registered them with the Archaeological Survey of India.

While searching her home the officers found seven antique idols Durairajan had bought from the “master smuggler” known only asDeenadayalan who diedearlier this month. Durairajan was only able to produce receipts for four of the seven idols in her possession, all of which were issued and signed by Deenadayalan.

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Police didn’t have to look far for a clue as to where the idols came from: two were inscribed with the name “Adhi Kesava Temple” on the base, a clear sign that they may have been stolen.

While investigating, staff at the temple told police that three religious idols depicting Adhi Kesava Perumal, Sree Devi, and Bhoodevi, were stolen from the temple in July 2011. At the time, the complaint was filed with the local police in Ulundurpet, who were unable to make headway in the investigation and closed the case in 2013.

The case has officially been reopened and will be investigated by the Idol Wing police in the Kallakurichi district. The Idol Wing is investigating which temple the four remaining idols were stolen from.

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