Stolen TN idol on display at Australia museum: Report
By C Shivakumar|ENS - CHENNAI
29th July 2012 07:46 AM
Days after US immigration officials announced the seizure of antiques allegedly stolen from Indian temples — from the storage units of smuggler Subhash Chandra Kapoor — it has also emerged that a centuries-old statue reportedly stolen from Tamil Nadu has made its way to the National Gallery of Australia.
However, officials of the Economic Offences Wing here refused to confirm it.
A report carried by the New York Post claimed that one of the stolen items, a 900-year-old statue of ‘Shiva as Lord of the Dance’ valued at $2 million, is on display at the National Gallery of Australia, adding that the authorities were trying to recover it.
Police sources here said Kapoor smuggled antique idols from temples in Ariyalur district through shipments packed among knockoffs.
Documents were also forged for shipping, police sources added.
Sources said one of the antique idols that was stolen from Ariyalur district to New York, made its way to Australia with the National Gallery now displaying it. In fact, the gallery’s website shows a picture of an idol titled ‘Shiva as Lord of the Dance’ (Nataraja) from the 11th-12th century Chola Dynasty, Tamil Nadu. The web page also gives the idol’s dimensions.
However, EOW sleuths chose to be tight-lipped.
“The investigation is on and it is too early to confirm. Only the Archeological Survey of India can confirm its authenticity,” a police official said.
Earlier, there were reports that US immigration and customs authorities had seized antiques stolen from Indian temples that could be worth $20 million from four storage units of Kapoor at New York.
Three of the idols seized from the unit were suspected to have been stolen directly from Tamil Nadu temples as all the three bronze statues were visible on websites of the State’s police and the Interpol, the reports added.
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