TN cops seize 74 ancient idols from house of French national in Puducherry

A 20-member team of the Tamil Nadu idol wing CID led by Superintendent of Police R Sakthivel on Wednesday recovered 74 antique idols from the house of a French national in Puducherry.

The seizure was made based on credible information on the network and after obtaining a warrant to search from Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Kumbakonam Vijaykumar, Sakthivel was quoted as saying by a report in The New Indian Express.

Only recently, a set of three idols of Lord Rama, Sita and Lakshmana, stolen from a temple in Tamil Nadu decades ago, were restored to the Indian government on Tuesday after a collector voluntarily offered to hand it back on discovering their true history.

The theft dates back to 1978 and led to an investigation by the Idol Wing of the Tamil Nadu Police working along with colleagues in the Metropolitan Police in London.

The unnamed collector, who had acquired the statues in good faith, was informed about their dubious provenance by the Met Police.

In a ceremony streamed from India House in London in keeping with the limit on gatherings due to the COVID-19 restrictions, priests from Sri Murugan Temple in London conducted a short religious ceremony for their handover to India.

“Today marks the successful completion of the search and rescue operation of these very beautiful idols, which were consecrated and worshipped side by side for years. We wanted to ensure these deities were handled with due reverence and propriety before they are shipped back to India,” said Indian High Commissioner to the UK Gaitri Issar Kumar.