Tamil Nadu

82 ancient temple idols recovered in Chennai

S.Murari

The Idol Wing CID of the Tamil Nadu Police on Thursday recovered 82 ancient stone and bronze idols stolen from temples across Tamil Nadu. The idols were recovered from the house of businessman Ranvir Shah in Chennai.

Besides the 82 idols, the wing led by Inspector- General Police Pon Manickevel also seized seven slabs of temple pillars.

Manickevel told reporters that the idols were so many that there was no room in the Madras Museum to store them and they would, therefore, would be kept in the Idol Wing office for the time being.

The recovery followed raids carried out on the direction of the Madras High Court which gave Pon Manickevel the go-ahead and.the Tamil Nadu Government tried to shift the cases to the CBI, only to be told by the central agency saying it is already overburdened and it cannot take up them up..

The idols recovered from Shah’s residence were so many and so heavy that five trucks were brought in and they were loaded into them with the help of cranes. Among the seized idols was one of Nandi

Ranvvir Shah, who runs a garment export business in Mumbai, also has connection with the Tamil films and has acted in “Minsara Kanavu”.

The raids were conducted on the basis of information that Ranvir Shah has links absconding smuggler Deendhayallu (85) . He has been evading arrest since the raid on his house in Chennai in June 2016 led to the recovery of 38 Panchaloha idols, 50 stone idols and 50 Tanjore paintings and wooden artefacts. Police have already seized Deenadayalan’s passport and issued a lookout notice against him.

Manickevel said most of the idols were supplied to Ranvir Shah by Deenadayalan.The purchase receipts that Shah produced were found to be fake.

He said probe was on to find out from which temples these idols were stolen.

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