20 murtis seized from French citizen in Auroville, Puducherry
Tamil Nadu Idol Wing police have commenced an investigation into the French connection after 20 idols were recovered from the residence of a French citizen from Auroville in Puducherry.
The seizure of the idols from the French national’s residence, who was in France during the raids, has alerted the Tamil Nadu Idol Wing to probe whether more such smuggling has taken place involving French nationals. Sources in the idol wing said that a dealer had tried to help the French national and had even obtained Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) clearance.
The department, according to Idol Wing officers, is probing whether more such artifacts were smuggled abroad using the connections in Puducherry and Auroville where a large number of foreign nationals are staying.
Acting on a tip-off that a shop selling antique materials was dealing with stolen artifacts from Tamil Nadu, the Idol Wing obtained an order from a judicial magistrate court to search the shop.
While searching the shop on September 11, the Idol Wing team led by Inspector R Indira, Sub-inspector, Balachandran, and constables could understand that a French national was also involved and searched his residence and recovered 20 artifacts. During the search documents related to twenty antique items which the dealer had tried assisting a French national to smuggle to France by obtaining a clearance from the Archaeological Survey of India were discovered from the premises. The address of the French national, a resident, was available in the documents seized by the Idol Wing. The Idol Wing team followed it up by searching the French national Dana Auro premises in Auroville.
The Idol Wing has unearthed the case involving the smuggling of stolen idols from many parts of Tamil Nadu to European nations and the US. The department has also brought back several stolen idols from various museums in Europe and the US.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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